Michelle Rodriguez made a comment recently that was spurned by many. She was asked, in jest, would she be the next Green Lantern. The Green Lantern is a popular comic book hero, who is having a movie centered around him and his story line. Her response to the question: “Ha ha ha That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard…Ya..I think it’s stupid like..because of this whole minorities in Hollywood thing..But it’s so stupid…Stop stealing all the White people’s superheroes..make up your own..you know..”
Michelle, from my perspective, is quite an accomplished actress. She has made away for herself and has helped to break down cultural barriers with her choice of roles and characters that she chooses to plays. She is generally known for her role as “female bad-ass”. The tough chick who needs no one accept herself to save her own skin. A delightful archetype indeed. But the statement she made, in a sense set back all the ground she has covered with her role, it strips these roles of their mystique and power. Even though the statement does have a negative side to it, it does make a strong point–and a very valid point at that.
Let us begin with the misunderstanding within the statement–the negative aspect. Her primary misstep was stating “Sop stealing all the White people’s superheroes.” Ironically enough, many of these superheroes that she speaks of were indeed directly created from or based off of heroes from antiquity. Many of which were derived from Greek heroes, who were ultimately replica’s of character’s from African folklore and the like. The heroes she so despises to be hijacked were stolen ideas in the first place. This is only one aspect of the statement that turns people off from the valid truths that the statement contains.
The next aspect that turns people off is her dismissive attitude towards the “whole minorities in Hollywood thing.” It is as though she dismisses the idea that there is a dominant white-male-patriarchal paradigm that has and does dominate the Hollywood scene if not the entire American scene. She compounds this by essentially defending the paradigm, by saying if you want to be a part of the paradigm you cannot, go make your own paradigm—your own heroes. An industry that is dominated by a particular class of people does not want anyone infringing on there niche. And this provides the crux of the Blog.
The superhero plays a large part in the psyche of the collective consciousness of the American individual, as well as any individual that is part of popular culture collective consciousness. Much like Jesus or Santa Claus has done, superheroes such as Superman and Batman have plugged themselves into our psyche—whether we consciously acknowledge so or not. We are constantly bombarded with the archetype of a White Male being our savior on so many levels. Whether it be as a child—the bearer of all things good; whether it be as an adult—the protector or guardian of our souls; or whether it be on an imaginary level—the guardian of our well being and planet. However you splice it, we are constantly reinforced and reaffirmed that this White Male archetype is our “God” in a sense. And if you have to be convinced of something chances are it is the furthest from the truth. See my “https://ingloriousresurrection.com/2014/11/26/rebuilding-the-black-woman-guardians-of-our-souls/” for further clarification.
Yes, a society in which all the laws were established by a particular group of people. All industry was established by a particular group of people. And the entire framework of the system that is our society was created by a particular group of people. It would make sense for this group of people to constantly flaunt their power or rather convince the social consciousness that their perceived power is a reality. It is a voracious attempt to cling unto what little power they do have—which is the power to persuade perception.
Insert Michelle Rodriguez, unbeknownst to her by defending this white-male power structure she has actually subconsciously undermined it. And this is the beauty in her statement. Despite where these superhero narratives originally came from, she understands that the white-male lays claim to it now. And instead of being so possessed with taking back the old—go forth and create more. Although, there is nothing new under sun, we are in a new era. Create a new hero, for a new era, to combat the heroes that are already in place. Symbolically what she is saying is along the lines of Malcolm X. Why put energy into being a part of someone’s else reality when you can go forth and create your own reality and create your own truths—essentially: save yourself. Rather, reclaim your truth and re-express it.
And despite how inarticulate you expressed her sentiment, and the true intention of her statement, this is the truth that she was attempting to convey. Although, that truth is smeared in mud and not presented in the best of lights. There is a truth within her statement. Free yourself from the bondage of another’s narrative, go forward and craft your own narrative. Stop letting someone else dictate your history and your future. Claim your history and write your future, and this can be done through the narrative of the story—which is best expressed in the modern era through superheroes and fictional characters. Like it or not, people identify with fictional characters. People idolize, latch on to, and derive personal meaning from the lives and actions of fictional characters witnessed through the medium of entertainment—whether it is reality or not it affects reality.
And so before we become so quick to demonize her statement. Let us marinate on the truth the lives embedded with the muck of her statement. Perhaps…. She on to something!