Fierce

Studios Won’t Cast Black Women In Movies Based On Earth, So Afro-Latinas Like Zoe Saldana And Lupita Nyong’o Are Occupying Space

Well before Nichelle Nichols gained acclaim for “Star Trek” as the first Black woman on TV that wasn’t a servant, speculative fiction was mostly a white man’s game. Sci-Fi, fantasy and action films were a genre where Black guys always died first and white men always saved the day. There was little room for women, let alone Afro-Latinas.

These days, the lack of diversity in modern speculative fiction remains a problem. White men still run the show on and off the screen, and Black men still die first. But, slowly, the playing field is changing. As Marvel gears up for the release of some of its most promising blockbuster hits, “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” among them, I couldn’t help but notice the significant roles Afro-Latinas like Lupita Nyong’o and Tessa Thompson were playing in these films. In fact, from my numbers, it’s not just through Marvel and it’s not just in recent years that Afro-Latinas have lit up the sc-fi/ fantasy screen.

Afro-Latina actresses have been taking Black girl magic to the stars and beyond for a minute, y’all.

Strap in, and I’ll take you on one hell of a nerdy ride to review.

Gina Torres’ role in Space Western drama helped push a show to cult status.

Gina Torres as Zoë Alleyne Washburne in “Firefly” / FOX

Long before she took up the torch as Zoë Washburne of “Firefly,” the Cubana had established herself as a veteran of a number of science fiction/fantasy projects. There was “Cleopatra 2525,” “Alias” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” After “Firefly,” she went on to star in “The Matrix: Reloaded” and appeared in  last year’s breakthrough HBO show “Westworld.”

But, for me, “Firefly” became the role I knew her for and loved most about her. Mostly because she changed my attitude about the sci-fi shows my dad and brother watched. Torres’ role on “Firefly” was my first positive introduction to a genre I would ultimately go on to love. Sure, sci-fi was nerdy, but put a Black woman at the center of one of those plots, and it could be cool as hell.

Zoë Washburne was the show’s deadly fighter who could kick your ass and make you want to be her all at the same time. She was whip-smart, loyal and a warrior. Oh yeah, and she was a Black woman encompassing all of these things to boot.

Zoe Saldana taught Hollywood that Black women could help feed their franchises.

Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in “Avatar” / 20th Century Fox

We’re living in a world where nearly every Hollywood studio is looking to flip a sequel and make it a franchise. Look up any major Hollywood actress today, and I’ll wager that she has a franchise or two under her belt. (Emma Stone has “Spiderman,” Jennifer Lawrence has “Hunger Games,” Kiera Knightly has “Pirates of the Caribbean” and even Cate Blanchett has a franchise in “Lord of The Rings.”) But few actresses have managed to take on three of the most popular sci-fi action franchises at the same time.

Currently, Saldana headlines lead acting roles in “Star Trek,” “Avatar” and “Guardians of The Galaxy.” In interviews, she has described how taking on the parts of sci-fi characters whose skin tones were as colorful as a Crayola box helped her to kick down doors for herself in the genre.

“It’s hard when you go and fight for a role because they’re like, ‘I don’t know, man, you mean, it’s like the blue girl from Avatar? I don’t know, I want to go down a different route,'” the Puerto Rican-Dominican actress told The Independent. “I feel like a little bit of an underdog because I live in space, nobody wants me here on earth.”

Saldana’s portrayal of both Gamora in “Guardians” and Neytiri in “Avatar” has spawned a trend that can be seen consistently at any Comic Con event. Legions of women wearing blue and green makeup show up to the once primarily male-dominated events to celebrate Saldana’s characters.

Lupita Nyong’o pried open the sci-fi door and made herself seen.

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia in “Black Panther” / Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

I’ll be honest, when Lupita Nyong’o graced the Academy Awards show for the first time four years ago, I feared that she was doomed to be forgotten. After all, Black women who both rock their dark skin and natural hair are a rare thing to be seen in Hollywood. When these rare treasures finally do get a chance to shine, they’re either stereotyped, given smaller supporting roles or faded out completely. Fortunately for us, the Kenyan-Mexicana has managed to carve out a massive place for herself in both the industry and its sci-fi genre.

When her role in “Star Wars” was announced, many fans were less than pleased to find the talented actress’s appearance would be covered up with computer animation. But she made do, and her role as Maz Kanata quickly became a fan favorite. Now Nyong’o is set to star in the 18th film of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as Nakia in “Black Panther,” and in the months before the film, she has inspired young girls and women to embrace their African roots and culture.

Tessa Thompson jumped into sci-fi- and gave it a reboot.

Tessa Thompson as “Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok “/ Marvel Studios

With recent projects such as “Westworld,” “Annihilation,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Avengers: Infinity Waralready under her belt, it feels like Thompson didn’t get much of a chance to get her feet wet before doing the sci-fi movie deep-dive. And yet, the Panamanian-Mexican has already paved the opportunity for more diverse characters on screen and in the genre — particularly when it comes to the role she took on for Marvel.

Thompson’s part as Valkyrie was an exciting one to see in a box-office film in general, but her role as a queer POC Marvel character was momentous. Her Valkyrie was as complex and multifaceted as onscreen female characters come: she has might, weaknesses, a sense of her sexuality, a whole heck of a lot of bite and can handle her alcohol. Oh, and never once was her character made to fulfill the role of the leading actor’s love-interest.

Afro-Latinas of Hollywood have had a significant part to play in the beloved genre that is speculative fiction. The characters and roles they play continue to widely influence the way women and Afro-Latinas, in particular, see themselves. Like us, these characters and the actresses that portray them are strong, fiercely independent and up for challenges. Here’s hoping production studios keep doing the smart thing and cast more Black women in these gravity-defying roles. Because while the characters these leading ladies of color have played has been significant, there’s no doubting Hollywood needs a whole heck of a lot more.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Entertainment

All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Spring is officially here and sweeping in with a new bundle of shows and films to binge and watch on Netflix. From the much-anticipated adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series to a new David Attenborough docuseries, there are tons of shows to look forward to watching this April.

That’s right, spring into action gang, this April has a world of great streams!

April 1

  • 2012
  • Cop Out
  • Friends with Benefits
  • Insidious
  • Legally Blonde
  • Leprechaun
  • Magical Andes: Season 2
  • The Pianist
  • The Possession
  • Prank Encounters: Season 2
  • Secrets of Great British Castles: Season 1
  • Tersanjung the Movie
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
  • White Boy
  • Worn Stories
  • Yes Man

April 2

  • Concrete Cowboy
  • Just Say Yes
  • Madame Claude
  • The Serpent
  • Sky High

April 3

  • Escape from Planet Earth

April 4

  • What Lies Below

April 5

  • Coded Bias
  • Family Reunion: Part 3

April 6

  • The Last Kids on Earth: Happy Apocalypse to You

April 7

  • The Big Day: Collection 2
  • Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute
  • Snabba Cash
  • This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist
  • The Wedding Coach

April 8

  • The Way of the Househusband

April 9

  • Have You Ever Seen Fireflies?
  • Night in Paradise
  • Thunder Force

April 10

  • The Stand-In

April 11

  • Diana: The Interview that Shook the World

April 12

  • New Gods: Nezha Reborn
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn: Seasons 1-4

April 13

  • The Baker and the Beauty: Season 1
  • Mighty Express: Season 3
  • My Love: Six Stories of True Love

April 14

  • Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
  • The Circle: Season 2
  • Law School
  • The Soul
  • Why Did You Kill Me?

April 15

  • Dark City Beneath the Beat
  • The Master
  • Ride or Die

April 16

  • Arlo the Alligator Boy
  • Ajeeb Daastaans
  • Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday
  • Crimson Peak
  • Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 4: Mexico
  • Into the Beat
  • Rush
  • Synchronic
  • Why Are You Like This
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife

April 18

  • Luis Miguel – The Series: Season 2

April 19

  • Miss Sloane
  • PJ Masks: Season 3

April 20

  • Izzy’s Koala World: Season 2

April 21

  • Zero

April 22

  • Life in Color with David Attenborough
  • Stowaway

April 23

  • Heroes: Silence and Rock & Roll
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Tell Me When

April 27

  • August: Osage County
  • Battle of Los Angeles
  • Fatma
  • Go! Go! Cory Carson: Season 4

April 28

  • Sexify
  • Headspace Guide to Sleep

April 29

  • Things Heard & Seen
  • Yasuke

April 30

  • The Innocent
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Pet Stars
  • The Unremarkable Juanquini: Season 2

Leaving Netflix in April

April 2

  • Honey: Rise Up and Dance

April 4

  • Backfire

April 11

  • Time Trap

April 12

  • Married at First Sight: Season 9
  • Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning: Season 1

April 13

  • Antidote

April 14

  • Eddie Murphy: Delirious
  • The New Romantic
  • Once Upon a Time in London
  • Thor: Tales of Asgard

April 15

  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

April 19

  • Carol
  • The Vatican Tapes

April 20

  • The Last Resort

April 21

  • The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Seasons 1-3

April 22

  • Liv and Maddie: Seasons 1-4

April 23

  • Mirror Mirror

April 24

  • Django Unchained

April 26

  • The Sapphires

April 27

  • Ghost Rider (2007)

April 27

  • The Car
  • Doom

April 28

  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop

April 30

  • 17 Again
  • Blackfish
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Den of Thieves
  • How to Be a Latin Lover
  • I Am Legend
  • Jumping the Broom
  • Kingdom: Seasons 1-3
  • Knock Knock
  • Palm Trees in the Snow
  • Platoon
  • Runaway Bride
  • Snowpiercer
  • The Green Hornet
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Waiting

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Entertainment

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Break out the tres leches! It’s gonna be a wedding of “epic proportions!” Cuban-style!

That’s right, the beloved 1991 film Father of the Bride is getting a remake. This time, the film will star 64-year-old actor Andy Garcia, the patriarch of a Cuban American family, struggling to see his daughter walk down the aisle.

Garcia will star in and executive produce the upcoming Warner Bros. remake of Father of the Bride, a story that will follow a Cuban American family.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B will produce the remake with Gaz Alazraki, director of Club de Cuervos, set to helm.

“I’m very excited to join The Father of the Bride, a beloved film that has brought so much joy to so many over the years and to represent my Cuban culture and heritage in this story,” Garcia explained in a statement published by THR. “I commend Warner Brothers for their foresight and celebrate this opportunity they have created.” 

Garcia’s remake is the latest in the franchise, which first came out in 1950 and starred actor Spencer Tracey and Elizabeth Taylor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The first film inspired a sequel, also starring Tracey and Taylor, called Father’s Little Dividend. The film was remade forty-years later with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in the 1991 version. Garcia’s upcoming take will focus on a similar storyline. According to THR, “the latest remake will center on the father of a soon-to-be bride coming to terms with daughters’ nuptials. But the latest take will be told through the relationships in a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.”

The 1991 cast of the film reunited in September for a Netflix special. 

father of the bride
BUENA VISTA PICTURES

The feature filmed memorable moments from the Nancy Meyers film and its 1995 sequel Father of the Bride II and showed “the Banks family’s” home in 2020. The reunion was produced to honor the World Central Kitchen amid the pandemic.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com