March 13, 2009 / / activism

by Guest Contributor Rachell Arteaga, originally published at The Majority Post

A member of Women in Children’s Media, I recently had the privilege of attending this year’s 10th annual KidScreen Summit. With just over 1000 attendees and hundreds of speakers from across the country and all over the world, this truly was a Mecca for all those who are in the business of creating kid’s media. I, however, attended as an observer absorbing what I could from workshops that really delved into the inner workings of the content and production of children’s media. I arrived at this three-day extravaganza with one question – what is the kids’ media industry doing to serve girls and children of color?

I couldn’t help but feel frustrated by the answer. While programming aimed at children in preschool and ages 5-7 seem to do their part with shows like Dora the Explorer, Maya and Miguel and Little Bill, ‘tween audiences (ages 8-12) seem to be left in a vast cultural wasteland with a dearth of empowering female role models and an even greater absence of featured children of color. This hole in representation is glaringly more apparent in animation. Dr. Maya Götz, head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI), conducted a study which surveyed television shows throughout the globe. In it, IZI found that “Only 32% of all main characters in children’s television are female. The ratio of male to female characters in animation programmes, especially if the main character is an animal, monster, etc., is as disparate as 87% male to 13% female.” The same study found that “72% of all main characters in children’s television [around the world] are Caucasian.” Read the Post What are kids entertainment execs doing for girls and racial diversity?

February 1, 2016 / / Entertainment
January 4, 2016 / / Racialicious Reads

Happy 2016 Racialicious Readers!

A New Year is full of promise, hope, and potential. And there’s no better way to start the year off than by reading a productivity guide meets advice memoir from the woman who owns Thursday nights?

Shona Rhimes is the powerhouse creator of Shondaland, featuring her mega-hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. After an enviable career of penning hit movies and shepherding projects through the fickle whims of television, one would think Shonda had it all. But few people knew that underneath the amazing professional achievement, Rhimes struggled with feeling comfortable in the public eye. Year of Yes is the story of what happened after Shonda’s sister made an offhanded comment (“You never say yes to anything”) that became the driving force for 2014. Rhimes pledged to say yes to the opportunities that came her way, regardless of how terrifying – and also, learned how to say yes to herself.

*Some Spoilers Ahead*
Read the Post Start off 2016 with ‘Year of Yes’

July 7, 2015 / / Culturelicious

By Arturo R. García

As ever, we keep an eye out for creators of color during San Diego Comic-Con, but for the second straight year, we’re getting the ball rolling a little early with some folks to watch going into the event, covering not just superhero comics, but television and the YA novel world, all under the cut.
Read the Post The SDCC Files: A Quick Primer On Some Creators Of Color To Follow

June 24, 2015 / / comics

By Arturo R. García

As of Wednesday morning, the mantle of Spider-Man has changed hands in both the comic-book and movie realms. And while Marvel Comics scored a win on the diversity front, it’s fair to wonder if the move could pay dividends in another realm.

Because while it’s notable enough to see Miles Morales, the Black Latino character introduced in an alternate comics universe nearly four years ago, named as the protagonist in Marvel’s new Spider-Man title, it will be particularly interesting to see how the company handles both him and his predecessor, Peter Parker, after a series of moves de-emphasizing characters who, like Peter, are not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Read the Post Web of Spider-Men: Will Marvel Use Miles Morales To Stick It To Sony?

June 17, 2015 / / Entertainment

By Guest Contributor Claire Light, cross-posted from The Nerds Of Color

How do you imagine a life you could never live? Though not really a theme, this problem is at the heart of Netflix’s new original series Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and heavily influenced by Tom Tykwer. Like many fantastical or science fictional premises, Sense8’s premise is a wish fulfillment: not — as is typical of this genre and the Wachowskis’ earlier work — the wish fulfillment of the disempowered middle school nerd stuffed into a locker, but rather the Mary Sue desire of a mature, white American writer/auteur who has discovered that an entire world is “out there,” one that the maker doesn’t know how to imagine.
Read the Post Sense8 And The Failure Of Global Imagination

June 9, 2015 / / Entertainment

by Kendra James

The 90s nostalgia burden is real, and it manifests itself in a variety of unique ways amongst most 20-somethings. Whether we’re rereading a favorite Scholastic series or giggling over a popsicle stick with googly eyes on YouTube, the burden of rose-colored glasses lives with us all. My personal burden is the reality of existing as a 27 year old who unironically watches Girl Meets World in earnest.

When I claim that Girl Meets World  is a good show I fully expect my opinion to be taken with a grain of salt. If you know me at all, then you know how much I love the show’s precursor, Boy Meets World. Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and Eric were my world when I was younger. I’m comfortable admitting that were it not for an extreme case of 90s Nostalgia Syndrome I would not have started watching (and rewatching) episodes of a Disney Channel Show aimed at the white tween girl demographic.

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Girl Meets World: Clearly a show for a very particular demographic.

That demographic categorization isn’t meant to be an insult, just a statement of what it is. I should reiterate: I genuinely enjoy Girl Meets World. Nothing tempers my innate, bitter New Yorker cynicism like the weekly reminder that Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence managed to stay married and reside happily in a huge apartment in the East Village with their two kids– one of whom is perpetually in adorable undone suspenders. I generally find tween stars cloying and unrelateable, but Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter, who play Riley and Maya (the titular Girls meeting the titular World) have grown on me since the show’s 2014 debut. While, yes, I had to literally get up and take a walk around a park to gather myself and my emotions after Shawn Hunter’s return during the first season, I also enjoy the episodes that focus solely on the girls and their Disney-appropriate middle school adventures.

But the fact remains that despite the second season addition of ‘Zay’ (a new student at the middle school who sounds like he came up through the Hollywood Shuffle School of Black Acting, which could be more a fault of the Over-Acting Teen Aesthetic Disney employs than the scripts themselves. Time will tell.) Disney’s Girl Meets World is an incredibly white show.

Even aside from the obvious choices — take The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Living Single — the 90s were chock full of shows with full or majority Black casts. I would sooner revisit the slightly goofy The Parent’hood (Director Robert Townsend’s 1995 sitcom vehicle, not to be confused with the NBC show Parenthood) than Boy Meets World if I were looking for for deep 1990s meditations on race relations in America. With a revolving door of vanishing Black supporting characters, Boy Meets World was hardly the most diverse show of its era either. Cory and Shawn had a Black friend, Ellis, for a few episodes during season one, and a Black teacher, Eli, during season three. Both were short lived and in typical 90s fashion, diversity focused solely on the presence of Black characters rather than exploring the vast diaspora of people of colour.

And yet, despite the fact that I watched Black led shows like Sister Sister, it’s Boy Meets World’s seven seasons that remain the most beloved television of my childhood. And it was Angela Moore, the girl that managed to jam that revolving door of blackness in season five, who I used as a point of personal validation of my own existence through high school and college.

Read the Post Racialicious (Noir)stalgia: How To Maintain Your Black Identity While Having Three Very White Friends

By Guest Contributor Anna Cabe

Like many feminist-cum-superhero fanatics, I eagerly awaited the Marvel Cinematic Universe mini-series, Agent Carter, the company’s first real attempt at a female hero-driven property. In many ways, it delivers. The show makes good use of its 1940’s setting with strong costume and set design and snappy period music. The cast are mostly wonderful and show great chemistry—with the standout, of course, being Hayley Atwell, the titular Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R.) Agent Peggy Carter.

Agent Carter Premiere Poster
Agent Carter Premiere Poster, via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia.

As Agent Carter, Atwell kicks multiple men’s (and one equally badass woman’s) asses, wrings tears from viewers’ eyes, makes us laugh with an archly delivered quip, and looks smashing in an evening gown and red lipstick. She flips the script of the superhero’s girlfriend—She doesn’t die! She isn’t always being rescued!—and has her own adventures after her boyfriend, Captain America, “dies.” When I finally finished the season (I live overseas with sketchy Internet so I’m slow to catch up to broadcast shows), I sang its praises all over Twitter and Facebook.

That said, Agent Carter has not escaped criticism for limitations when it comes to both race and gender, namely a painfully white and very male cast. Defenders of the casting have deflected this criticism in the name of “historical accuracy,” as though American history is exclusively white unless the subject is slavery, immigration, and the Civil Rights Movement. And of course, this is a show set in an alternate timeline in which superhuman Captain America is the United States’ first line of defense against a Nazi supervillain named Red Skull. A few substantial brown characters hardly seems a stretch of credibility or a distortion of history by comparison. Read the Post Unburied but Forgotten: Asian Bodies in Agent Carter