The visibility of the black population has grown exponentially in culture, to the point that we are seeing more and more black characters in movies and literature. Today, there is protagonism in the works, and stories have also gained space to be told by black authors and filmmakers.
This is an important moment for society to evolve with social justice. Check out ten important characters from cultural products that you need to get to know right away.
1. Black Panther
Black Panther is the most iconic character on the list and in Marvel’s cinematic universe. The film about the character won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019 and has inspired a whole new generation of black filmmakers, actors, and young people.
He was the first superhero of African descent from Marvel, the comic book giant, whose first appearance dates back to 1966. The sequel to the 2018 hit is scheduled to premiere this July, again starring cinema’s leading black character of the last decade.
Dan is a character from Mundo Bita, a children’s entertainment project created in 2010. He is not the only black man in the songs presented in the project’s YouTube channel, but he is one of the important characters in the universe created by designer Chaps Melo.
In 2019, the project invited actor Lázaro Ramos to create a story that was released in book form and starring Dan, which discusses important themes for children and adults, such os feelings, cultural diversity, and respect for differences.
James Baldwin is one of the leading names in 20th century American literature. Tish is a black woman, the protagonist of If Beale Street Could Talk, the author’s fifth novel. She is a strong character who tries to prove that her fiancé, Fonny, was wrongfully imprisoned.
Tish is the synthesis of Baldwin’s work, a woman who believes in the need for the racial issues in the country to be debated so that they are no longer intrinsic to the society in which she lives. The work was adapted into a film, directed by Barry Jenkins, and won three Oscar statuettes.
4. Don Shirley
Green Book is an Oscar-nominated film about Don Shirley, a jazz pianist, composer, and arranger whose talent is recognized by classical music geniuses such as the Russian Igor Stravinsky, who says that his virtuosity is worthy of the gods.
Shirley has a doctorate in psychology, is fluent in eight languages, and is very involved in the civil rights movement in the United States. The film won three statuettes at the main American film awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, who played the main character.
5. Luke Cage
Although he was not the first black character in Marvel history, Luke Cage was the first to have his own magazine and to star in a television series produced in partnership with Netflix.
He is an important character of the blaxploitation movement, which emerged in the 1970s, coinciding with a period of revision of race relations. Even though he receives criticism for stereotyping, it was important to give black communities a hero rather than a villain.
Celie is the protagonist of the film The Color Purple, a dramatic classic of American cinema, directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from the book of the same name by black author Alice Walker.
The character is played by Whoopi Goldberg, who won a Golden Globe for her performance. The feature film follows 40 years of the life of the character, a persevering woman who survives years of abuse and intolerance.
7. Joe Gardner
A Disney and Pixar partnership, Soul is an animated feature that will win the category’s Oscar in 2021. The film tells the story of Joe Gardner, a black high school music teacher who has a dream of becoming a jazz musician.
The heartwarming animation follows the journey of Joe, who, after suffering an accident, has his soul separated from his body and is taken to a place where souls are developed before being sent to newborn babies. Joe is passionate, as is the plot of Soul.
8. Starr Carter
Starr Carter is a character in the book The Hate You Sow, a literary work of the young adult genre that has been adapted for the big screen. Constructed by author Angie Thomas, she is very strong, shrewd, and fights against both racism and police oppression of the black and peripheral people of the neighborhood where she lives.
Django is the protagonist of Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s film that follows the life of a slave who gains freedom and sets out to repair his own history, starting by freeing his wife who lives enslaved on a plantation in Mississippi. Django is one of the most steadfast and obstinate black characters.
The character Storm was created in 1975 by Len Wein for Marvel and first brought to the silver screen in 2000, played by Halle Berry. She is a founding member of the X-Men, known as one of the most powerful mutants on Earth.
Storm is a born leader, very reliable and wise, able to control and manipulate the weather, having a legacy of fighting for freedom. She is known for her self-control, being adept at keeping her cool even in the darkest moments.
Source: Companhia das Letras, Quindim, Busca Voluntária, Nerdizmo, Abraccine, Papo de Cinema, Adoro Cinema, Record, Marvel, 20th Century Studios