Ironman a black woman?

I saw this headline on

Exclusive: Marvel’s New Iron Man Is a Black Woman.

The headline shocked me. How far do we have to go to make white, fictional figures, heroes or heroines or otherwise, black? In this case we’re also making a gender change. Seriously!!


Photo Credit: micky the pixel via Compfight cc

Now, in this Ironman case, my outrage was unfounded. The black young lady is a new character in the Ironman series. It’s not Tony Stark having undergone a sex change or ingested copious amounts of melanin.

That being said, the call for black fictional heroes has been very loud. We have them in real life, from the political: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, to sports: Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph, to the arts: Maya Angelou, Miriam Makeba.

Photo Credit: B Plessi via Compfight cc 27859113854_bef0c5aa20_o

The list of real life black people that we can seek to emulate or that can inspire us, is endless.

But it is not enough. We keep calling out for our black Superman, or black Batman, or black Cinderella, or black Annie, or even black Jesus?

I find this call quite sickening and it really gets under my thin skin.

Look, I understand the call. As a young boy growing up in Africa, all my comic book heroes were white. Spiderman, Thor, Daredevil, you name it. All white. For my sisters it was impossible to find a black doll to play with. In Africa, I tell you. In the kids bible stories, all the characters were white. Noah and the ark, Daniel in the lions den, David and Goliath, Jonah in the fish, all depicted as white even though they weren’t. You start to wonder if there was some kind of conspiracy to keep black people down. My Dad once told me that in the game of Pool, the fact that you play with the white ball and that the black ball is the last one dropped, is significant in race relations. I don’t blame him for thinking that.

So yes, I understand why we need more black super heroes or positive black characters especially for black children. But why can’t we create new characters that are black? Why are we recycling white characters and making them black. The creation of Riri Williams as the new Ironman character is a start, but she is still piggybacking on Ironman’s coat tails. Where is the stand alone black hero that would be uttered in the same breath as Superman, Captain America, or the Hulk?


If you go online you will see some black super heroes. I’m sorry to say that I barely know any of them. They are not house hold names. Go ahead and check them out here.

Photo Credit: Skeptical Beowulf via Compfight cc

How many are you familiar with?

Now lest you think that these are the ramblings of a naïve man, let me assure you that I am well aware that money talks. I am well aware, for example, that if Harry Potter had been black, it probably would not have done as well as it did. Neither would have the Hunger Games series, or the Twilight movies. Just my opinion, but with all the progress black actors have made, Hollywood still isn’t colour blind. And neither is the audience.

That being said, we can’t wait. The time is now to create that black character that will transcend race, that Halloween costumes would be made for and snatched up every year, that all peoples everywhere would stand proudly and declare themselves to be when they battle the bad guy in the backyard.

Is there anybody out there who will take me up on this challenge?





4 thoughts on “Ironman a black woman?

  1. Great read! “Hollywood still isn’t colourblind,”; I totally agree, and wonder if it ever fully will be? And if one day we get to that point, are we really going to mark it as progress? Great, we have a black Batman and black Superman. Not that I wouldn’t think that that is a good thing, but it just seems like there are so many other areas in life and the world right now where activists could be focusing their time.

    1. Hi Dida. I don’t think Hollywood will ever be colourblind either. And that’s okay. The hope is not to do away with recognising that we are different colours, but to celebrate that fact. Variety is good. We need to get to the point where colour is irrelevant in decisions regarding profit or success. What I don’t want to see though is appeasing races by making a character that was created as one race and making it another race. We don’t need a black James Bond. Ian Fleming created him white, so let a white actor play him and let’s all go and enjoy the show.

  2. In the past, there have been spin off characters just look at the Batman series. I think it doesn’t really matter what colour they are such as the green Hulk and the red Hellboy, but I think it is a terrible mistake to take a character already in existence for many years and try to drastically change that character. There have been women superheros such as Wonder Woman, but I think because it is an action flick, which attracts more guys than gals the movie makers use this to their advantage. I also think there is a shadow or chivalry still depicted in the movies which appeals to women. You know the knight on the white horse who swoops in and saves the damsel in distress. All women dream and would like that. So much stress on us men.

    1. Good point buddy, that it is mistake to take a character already in existence and drastically change it, including changing it’s race or gender. But you say being that knight who saves the damsel in distress is stressful? Why? Most men don’t have a problem with that, especially if they have that woman in mind who they want to be a hero to. I do. No stress at all.

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