Sometimes, someone needs to stand up, raise their voice and say something…completely clueless.
Take Snoop Dogg, who poses a tough question for the world in the video below: “[I want to know] why there aren’t any black superheroes? What’s wrong? We can’t get a superhero on?”
It’s a bold question, and for Snoop it was the inspiration for “Malice N Wonderland: The Movie,” a 40-minute feature that premieres on BET and Spike on March 24 and presents the West Coast rap icon as the urban crimefighter called Malice, who happens to be the very first black superhero ever.
Oh, wait, no, that’s not right. There have been, well, hundreds and hundreds of black superheroes. This is not a new development, either — the Black Panther, for instance, made his first appearance back in the summer of 1966 in the pages of Fantastic Four. It sounds like Snoop was thinking more of a character that reflects a more contemporary black urban culture (the Black Panther is an African-born monarch) but that’s not exactly a cutting-edge idea either. Luke Cage hit the sidewalks in 1972 and Black Lightning arrived five years later.
But maybe Snoop meant Hollywood, not comics? Surely there have been no black superheroes on screen? Well, except for Will Smith as the title character in “Hancock,” which was merely the fourth-highest-grossing film in America in 2008 (it made more domestically than “Wall-E” or “Twilight“). Oh, and Halle Berry did play Storm in, count ’em, three “X-Men” films. And Wesley Snipes staked out the first real film success for Marvel characters with “Blade” in 1998 and he returned to the role in two sequels. There are many others that spring to mind — Shaquille O’Neal starred in “Steel,” Robert Townsend had the title role in “The Meteor Man,” Samuel L. Jackson was Frozone in “The Incredibles” and will.i.am appeared as John Wraith in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” — and more coming, notably Don Cheadle suiting up as War Machine in this summer’s “Iron Man 2.”
Maybe Snoop has some memory loss issues…
UPDATE: And when it comes to music and black superheroes, who could forget this 1970s time-capsule…
— Geoff Boucher
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