Oh Michelle, Michelle, Michelle. How could we not be proud to have such a strong-willed, outspoken Bori-Dominicana representing for Latinos in the highest echelons of Hollywood action stardom? For the last fifteen years she’s kicked ass in everything from critically-acclaimed indie dramas, to Avatar, to the main cast of that televisual rabbit-hole called Lost. (Oh yeah, and she also starred in several of the 762 Fast and Furious films they’ve cranked out over the last decade or so.) Like her characters, she’s beautiful, unapologetic, and never pulls her punches. But then she goes and says some stupid shit.
Many of you may have caught wind of Rodriguez’s recent extemporaneous rant inspired by rumors she would be playing DC Comics’ ring-wielding superhero, The Green Lantern, in an upcoming film adaptation. As these things tend to go, the rumors were entirely unfounded, but given the multi-cultural turn that 21st century nerd-dom has taken, it certainly wouldn’t be unfounded that a Latina woman play a role traditionally reserved for white men. But when the investigative journalists over at a circus called TMZ approached her for commentary, the hot-headed 36 year old let the world know that people of color should stop “stealing white people’s superheroes,” while throwing up air quotes to belittle what she eloquently referred to as “the whole minorities in Hollywood thing.”
Understandably, the public cried out, and Rodriguez later responded to public outcry on her Facebook by insisting it was a call to creativity, and that she was putting her money where her mouth is by developing her own projects. I guess that’s understandable, right? I mean, instead of simply swapping out a beige colored pencil for a darker shade of brown in the latest iteration of Spider Man, minorities should be coming up with our own mythologies. Or, in the words of Rodriguez, we should “stop being lazy” and create our own mythologies. ¿Será bocona?
One man didn’t buy it, and he also happens to have a late-night time slot on Comedy Central. I’m talking about Larry Wilmore’s newly-minted panel show, The Nightly Show, which over the last two months has brought a comedic touch to otherwise uncomfortable topics related to race and gender politics. And thanks to the charming words of Ms. Rodriguez he dedicated an entire show to a discussion about nerd resistance to the diversifying of cherished pop culture franchises.
In addition to a sketch about a black Batman who gets pummeled by cops when he responds to the Bat-Signal, Wilmore brought together multi-colored figures from the world of comic book fandom as well as the artists and executives who call the shots. The result is an entertaining and sometimes enlightening conversation about our confusing 21st century world. Check out the full episode here.