Writing at the Huffington Post, Clarence Haynes says that while he didn’t give it much thought as a child, the powerful character reflected the possibilities of the women of color he grew up with and those he would go on to know as friends and professionals.
… I also had no idea as a kid that there was continual debate going on around the shaping of brown communities and the role of women, with there being significant pushback over the concept of non-traditional or female-headed households.
My childhood has been shaped by the presence of women, as I was raised by a single mother and her own mother, both of whom immigrated to the Northeast Bronx from Panama. My other caretakers were my aunt, who I always call tía, and her three daughters. We all lived not particularly far away from each other, with my primary regular male contact being my aunt’s husband, who was also my padrino.
My mother, like padrino, often worked nights, and was a generally boisterous, oft-times rancorous presence who sang “Open the dooooor, Richard” when she was picking me up from grandma’s apartment and bellowing “Vamonos!” when it was time for us to go. Meanwhile, my stoic-faced and wickedly sharp grandma looked after me, cooked, gave reprimands and reminders and saw no problem with me watching nighttime TV as long as I did my work. For both of these women, there was a lot I was yet to discover.
During this time I also found solace in comics, not fitting in with the boys of the block (which grandma thought was just as well) and being a voracious reader. Like many, many others, one of the titles I took to as a kid was The Uncanny X-Men and its family of related titles helmed by writer Chris Claremont. As she did to legions of readers, an X-man that stood out was group leader Ororo Monroe, aka Storm …
Read Clarence Haynes’ entire piece at the Huffington Post.
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