Growing up, we had fictional characters we loved, we still do. We followed the journey of these characters from books to movies till they became more than just fictional characters to us. A
A noticeable thing is that most of these characters were mostly white.
Not only were most of these fictional characters white, but real African/black characters have often been whitewashed for different reasons.
An example was the case of Joseph Fiennes, a white actor who played the role of the legendary King of pop, Michael Jackson. Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was also played by a Caucasian actress in the self-titled movie.
A Brazillian photographer known as Raphael FS reimagined some famous white characters as black people. In his project titled ‘identity’, he recreates some famously white characters as black with the help of Noemia Oliveira and Orlando Caldeira, the designers. In an interview, he states that the project was borne out of the desire to cause people to reflect on the “aesthetic values imposed in Brazilian society”.
Discrimination based on skin color is very much alive in Brazil, as well as most countries of the world. Despite being a multicultural country, dark-skinned and mixed race Brazilians have a lower quality of life on an average than their white counterparts.
See some of them below:
Dark-skinned Monalisa by Raphael FS
The Monalisa is the world famous painting of Lisa Gherardini of Italy. It was an oil painting made by the great artist Leonardo Da Vinci. In Raphael FS’s image, Lisa has been turned into an afro-haired, chocolate woman but still with her eyebrows on “flee”.
Black Queen Elsa by Raphael FS
Disney’s Frozen which hit the screens in 2013 got the world talking about snow queen Elsa and her feisty sister Anna, and of course singing along to ‘let it go’. Black queen Elsa also has on a beautiful, sparkly blue dress but with dark hair rather than snow-white hair as in the animated movie.
The Black Boy who Lived by Raphael FS
The Harry Potter movies adapted from the same-titled books by JK Rowling are one of the best-selling series of all time. A magical story about a wizard who defied a death spell by the wizarding world’s most evil wizard and his journey to defeating the same wizard created a brilliant storyline. Black Harry Potter can be seen to have kinky hair unlike the blonde boy-who-lived in the movies.
Black Ariel by Raphael FS
In 1989 Disney took their princess fairytales underwater to tell the story of Ariel, a teenage mermaid princess who had ambitions to walk the land with human legs. Ariel was fair-skinned with a long red voluminous hair, but her hair is reimagined as a thick afro-kinky head of hair on this dark-skinned model.
Black Spiderman and Mary Jane
The spiderman story is about a high school kid who gets bitten by a spider and develops mutant (spider) powers that turn him into a superhero. In all the comic books and movies, Mary Jane Watson, his love interest is portrayed as a fair-skinned redhead.
Raphael FS’ portrayal of Mary Jane as a dark-skinned, afro-kinky haired lady can be considered brave. Late last year when it was discovered that the fair-skinned biracial actress, Zendaya will be playing Mary Jane, comic purists protested citing that she is neither white nor a redhead. The spiderman in the image above is also noticeably black.