Today, Paramount’s live action adaptation of Ghost In The Shell hits theaters, and audiences across the country will finally get a chance to see Scarlett Johansson play an ass-kicking cyborg cop who is technically a Japanese woman living in a white woman’s body.
In the years leading up to the film’s inevitable creation, fans of the original Ghost In The Shell anime anime and manga franchises held out hope that when the series’ lead was brought to life, she’d be portrayed by an actress of Asian descent. Instead, the character was whitewashed and loosely reimagined to retain all of her iconic physicality (read: near naked bodysuit) while stripping her of her Japanese cultural roots.
For a lot of folks, Ghost In The Shell feels like a huge step backwards for racial representation in Hollywood at a time when movies like Moonlight and Hidden Figures are proving that “box office success” doesn’t have to mean “white leading actors.”
In last month’s issue of Marvel’s America, I was pleasantly surprised to see Prodigy, a queer, black, mutant 20-something randomly pop up on the page. Even though he’s one of the lesser known X-Men, he’s a character I felt an immediate kinship with when I was first introduced to him years ago.
Seeing him back in the comics still trying to figure himself out made it easy for me to slip into this new adventure of his (he’s going to college for superheroes) and gave me a reason to be invested in the book. To me, that’s a big deal, and I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences.
We want to hear from you about the last time you saw your identity depicted in a piece of mainstream pop culture? What was it? A film, a television show, a book? Sound off in the comments and let’s have a conversation about it.