Gamechanger: My Media Litmus Test

Originally published on Mental Health Matters

They say necessity is the mother of all invention. One thing was certain, I found myself in desperate need a few years back. As a speculative fiction author and a queer person of color (QPoC), I’m constantly frustrated not only with the lack of diversity, but the nonstop misogyny, racism, and queerphobia that continues to be the status quo in media.

More than that, as someone who suffers from depression, high anxiety and ptsd, I found the subliminal bigotry taking a toll on my mental health. Not only was I having trouble writing and creating, but some days I found myself physically ill and under the weather.

Not one to sit around and do nothing, I decided to take action.

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Battle On, Amazons

Prior to Gal Gadot being tapped to portray Wonder Woman for the DC Extended Universe, there was an online campaign where fans wanted to see actress Gina Torres play the iconic superheroine.

Understandable. Much like Gadot — and for that matter, Lynda Carter — Torres is the perfect blend of grace, beauty, power, and wisdom.

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Xena Was Black

File this under things you learn every day.

Amina was born around 1533 in Zaria, a province of today’s Nigeria. She was the daughter of Bakwa of Turunku. Their family’s wealth was derived from the trade of leather goods, cloth, kola, salt, horses, and imported metals.

When Bakwa died in 1566, the crown of Zazzua passed to Amina’s younger brother, Karama. Their sister, Zaria, fled the region and little is known about her.

Although Bakwa’s reign was known for peace and prosperity, Amina chose to hone her military skills from the warriors of the Zazzau military. As a result, she emerged as leader of the Zazzua cavalry. Many accolades, great wealth, and increased power resulted from her numerous military achievements.

When her brother Karama died after a ten-year rule, Amina had matured into a fierce warrior and had earned the respect of the Zazzau military and she assumed the reign of the kingdom.

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Character Study: Zoe Washburne

With October being #BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth, it seemed only appropriate to put the spotlight on an amazing black character. Zoe Washburne, the big damn heroine of Firefly/Serenity, portrayed by Perfection herself, Gina Torres, seemed like an excellent selection.

When Firefly first premiered, I knew the series was going to be something special. Joss Whedon was at the helm, very talented and good-looking cast, wicked cool concept. Of course it wasn’t until I saw the first episode that I realized how special this little series about cowboys in space truly was. A major part of that success was a little cowgirl known as Zoe Washburne.

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