We are only three months into 2018 and the surge of representation for people of all walks of life is riding high. From Jordan Peele’s historic win and Frances McDormand’s call for inclusion riders at this year’s Academy Awards, to the Billion dollar success of Black Panther and the promise it brings to the Marvel franchise, we are seeing some great strides for better media representation. The work being done to ensure that who and what we see is inclusive has in many served as an escape from pressing realities as well as a source of jubilation.
To speak from personal experience the opening weekend of Black Panther was filled with such self-love and pride for me. The film itself was a gleaming work of art that gave me the chance to be entranced by strong self-sustained Black characters, in addition to seeing these beautiful Black people dressed in our tradition clothing enjoying themselves. This display of representation expounded on the beauty and regalness that my people possess, despite the constant struggles and push back we may face on a day to day basis.
“The push for more complex and well-rounded depictions of marginalized people is a movement that serves as a release from feelings of misrepresentation and invisibility”
Media representation can also serve as a great way for people to learn about other backgrounds as well. The Disney Pixar film Coco is my newfound favorite and taught me a lot about other cultural perceptions of family and death while also helping me to cope with a loss. Despite me not being of Mexican heritage I was so happy to see the Latinx community represented in such a beautiful way and I realized that watching films and tv shows that open us up to different people help create better understandings of each other, which is why the pursuit of inclusion is so important. The fight to continue people’s representation has also become imbolden this year. The Netflix show One Day At A Time features Cuban American families' day to day life and has garnered massive support and coverage after threats of it being canceled. As for the LGBT community, the release of Love Simon is being championed by young people because it offers a great opportunity to see the coming of age and self-realization that so many have had to face without any representation in mainstream media to serve as a model (as well as having multiple Black actors in lead roles).
The push for more complex and well-rounded depictions of marginalized people is a movement that serves as a release from feelings of misrepresentation and invisibility. Diversity is growing in content creation and network corporations are taking some steps to open up their spaces and wallets to push for these changes due to the evident profitability. Getting our stories to media forefronts is imperative not only as a source of reflection but also as a motion for equality. •
Author, Dierra Bynum-Reid, pictured above.