We Need More Black Female Comic Book Characters!

Chaka Cumberbatch, in a piece at xoJane, takes issue with the lack of black female representation in the superhero genre: "Quick — off the top of your head, no Googling allowed — how many black female characters in comics, sci-fi or video games are you able to think of?" Cumberbatch is encouraging the powers that be to "hire more writers of color" in the comic book industry and to include more characters of color, particularly women.

For most people, the list starts off with the predictable: X-Men’s mistress of the elements Storm and the five-fingered feline Catwoman as told by Halle Berry (who for a while seemed to be building a career on destroying characters I love). Others might bring up Disney’s first black princess Tiana, the Walking Dead’s katana wielding Michonne, Avatar’s water bending Katara (though her actual race is ambiguous), or the sharp toothed black-best-friend-turned-baby-vamp Tara from True Blood. And that’s typically where the list starts to trail off …

All this to say that I was a black girl nerd -– always have been, always will be -– but no matter how far I ventured into the world of geekdom, I had a hard time finding characters who looked like me to identify with …

We’re going to movies. We’re going to cons. We’re paying for comics. We’re playing the video games. We’re an active part of the geek community, and we deserve to be represented. So I’m speaking up. I’m not hoping, and I’m not asking. I’m demanding better representation for black female characters in popular media …

We can be spunky. We can be vivacious. We can be complicated and beautiful and emotional and flawed and we might be all of those things or none of those things at all, but we deserve to be written. We deserve to be drawn.


Read Chaka Cumberbatch's entire piece at xoJane.  

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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