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Why I write Black Women Superheroes…

December 6, 2020

Before I explain why I write Black women superheroes, let me explain why I write superheroes. I write superheroes because it helps connect readers to the power of their imagination. I also love being able to create a legendary or mythical character whose sole mission is to face injustice head-on and use super human ability to right a wrong.  Maybe even, I love wearing a cape and a mask or having special weaponry that can be used to take down super villains. I like the idea of readers being able to join me in a unique fantasy world that breaks new ground,  includes thrilling action and twists in the superhero genre.

But why I write Black women superheroes is because I want to do all of what I’ve already mentioned AND acknowledge the existence of Black women.  I want to give life to characters who offer crucial representation by rising above the stereotypes and providing powerful role models. There’s a real need in our society for superheroes who represent Black girls and women in superhero books, TV series, and films.

Why? 

When you consider that books, TV series, and films not only influence how people view other cultures or races but also themselves, then it becomes clear that the current limited representation of Black women in mainstream media but specifically in the superhero genre creates a very glaring hole. One that I intend to fill as an author. In my Heroes League Legacy series, I want to develop Black women superhero characters who matter. I want Black girls and women to be able to imagine themselves as super humans or having super powers.  

The importance of women of color being represented in the superhero genre can’t be overstated. Historically, Black women have constantly felt ignored, stereotyped, and in some cases treated less than human.  When it comes to superhero books, TV series, or movies, there has been a minimal portrayal of darker skinned women who only serve as side kicks to male leading characters.  

Thinking on this more deeply, Superman, Batman, and Spiderman have all have had their origin stories retold on multiple occasions.  These stories are timeless and constantly find new audiences because they inspire love and loyalty. 

As a writer, I want to create that same love and loyalty in an audience of readers.  These readers will be able to connect with an Afro Puff superhero and understand that they have a hero who is all-powerful, positive, and is strong enough to save our world. Moreover, I want these readers to see a Black woman superhero who is not only the pillar of strength with a strong moral foundation, but can also see themselves, their lives—their issues reflected in the world-building. 

Because Black women as a whole have been victimized by discriminatory systems, it feels exciting to create a superhero who has the power to decide—right from wrong— and who is equipped to understand the weight and costs of having super human abilities as well as calling herself a hero. 

As an author, I want little Black girls to experience the same “magical” feeling that white boys feel when they see themselves represented in the many choices of superheroes they have available to them in the mainstream industry. 

My goal, as an author is to create a radical shift in storytelling where the stereotypical model of white males as the bastion of justice is replaced with Black women who understand the need for justice, can use super abilities to valiantly fight back and show resilience and perseverance. 

As I’m building my superhero series, I’m looking to defy the usual tropes of the scorned, angry black female who is a voiceless tokenized character.  I want to show Black women superheroes having real struggles, confronting the issues associated with the Black experience  but also show the side that is often not shown such as female friendship, community, and companionship. 

Superheroes play a crucial role in our society and there’s a true need for superheroes who look like me and are able to fight back for justice. I want to inspire others with this type of representation so that the world can not only see but understand the true super human ability of Black women who are not only magical but superheroes. 

Do you have some favorite Black women super heroines that you enjoy? Here’s my lists of:

Five Black women superheroines who inspire me

Six Black Warrior Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

And read about my reasons why we need a Wakanda theme park

I’m author Alicia McCalla. Sign-up for my newsletter to get updates, learn about my latest projects and purchase my Sistas with Skills, Swords, and Superpowers Stories and Merchandise!

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