Activists reimagine movies with black actors in viral campaign

A series of unexpected movie posters have popped up in London, showing iconic movies and television shows with black people cast in the main roles. It is the work of ‘Legally Black’, a group of four activists from Brixton, London, calling for better diversity and representation in the media.

Films such as Skyfall, Harry Potter and Titanic were all subverted with black people appearing on the posters. In a statement in i News, the activists outline their motivations for the viral campaign. They draw on their experiences growing up in Britain and feeling unwelcome and a sense of not belonging.

“It can feel like constantly being reminded of your race, never seeing yourself depicted as beautiful and being greeted at the door with stereotypes and micro-aggressions. If these were your daily experiences, you may have sought refuge in poetry, or books or cartoons.”

If you do not see yourself in the media you consume, you are alienated from the popular culture shared by your peers. Your way of life is also not normalised and exposed to people likely to treat you with less respect.

Researchers from the University of South Carolina published a study that showed that representation hasn’t really improved over the last decade. They analysed 30,000 characters in film between 2007 and 2014 and discovered with little surprise that at the end of the study three-quarters of roles were white.

Progress has been made with critically acclaimed and popular films such as Black Panther and Moonlight. However, these films are still the exception and have to fight into the mainstream. TV and cinema is still dominated by safe, white blockbusters films and shows. Outright celebration of ethnic identities is sparse.

Resistance to someone black being cast as James Bond or Doctor Who shows just how absurd the stumbling block has become. Hopefully, seeing one of these posters will make people uncomfortable with their preconceptions of the media. Good luck to these activists challenging the industry.

Activists reimagine movies with black actors in viral campaign Activists reimagine movies with black actors in viral campaign Reviewed by Ciaran McCormick on 17:38 Rating: 5

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