Yesterday Twitter exploded when the chocolate flavor of the decade for women, Idris Elba, was brought up YET AGAIN in the same sentence as James Bond. This time it was via some poorly chosen words by a James Bond author, Anthony Horowitz, who used the word “street” to describe Elba.
The outrage trended the entire day to the point where Horowitz had to issue the standard apology that comes with social media outrage (rolls eyes). You know, the same apology that everyone does, no one believes, yet we still want it just because…
There was some good that came out of it though. Lots of Idris Elba’s admirers got to show off their favorite pics of the man in a suit. There’s no shortage of Idris looking cleaner than a bar of soap, so you can imagine the amount of photos that were tweeted during those 24 hours.
Author’s note: Can we get someone to drop a racially loaded diss on Sanaa Lathan, please! I—I mean, “The men” have pics they want to share too!
No Black Bonds, Seriously Just Say No
The funny thing about this non-news—I mean, come on, things are exploding in China and thousands are dying, yet we’re tripping over black men being called “street” as if it’s something new—anyway, the funny thing about this non news is it reminded me how much I DO NOT want a black Bond. I do not want us to get anymore “blackened” heroes that were developed as white men and women, because let’s face it, it’s cheap.
“Black James Bond Likes Hennessy Right?”
Michelle Rodriguez was trying to say the same thing that I am saying here but people quickly hung her out to dry for not being able to articulate it. I don’t want the brown makeover anymore, I want net-new, original, badass heroes that start off, stay, and will continue to be black. If there aren’t any now, then damn it, let’s get on fixing it.
My Personal Change
As an author this is a subject that I take extremely serious and I practice what I preach. Readers in general ask for #morediversebooks, and as a community we seem to be the last to answer the call. I’m not talking Street-lit, it’s been covered a million times over. But to have regular stories, supernatural stories, paranormal stories with black leads, written from an author that has lived and understands the black experience. Sheesh, lots of us back down for fear of people not wanting to buy a book with a black protagonist… then wonder why we’re so underrepresented.
If you are a creator, I encourage you to be the change that you want to see, and stop making excuses to carry on the status quo.
Be The Change You Want To See
Let’s stop begging for a palette swap on characters and create, support, and uplift the diverse so that an Idris Elba doesn’t have to be a “black Bond”. Beyond black, we need to support stories that feature representatives of the world that are truly us, the human race. The world is a cosmopolitan blend of varying sexes, races, disabilities, sexual orientations … there’s so much to choose from.
Yet we are worried that a chronicler of a straight, white male, fictional hero doesn’t feel that a British black man is suave enough to play the role. Seriously? This is what trends for an entire day on Twitter? Come on people, let’s get back to the essence of the thing.
If you’ve been here before you know that I am the biggest James Bond fan. Hell I’ve written in depth reviews of all 20+ movies. Bond is cool! Women, gambling, the suits, the cars, the guns … what’s not to like? Still, I don’t sit here asking for a Black, Asian, Hispanic, or female Bond (didn’t we get this with Angie Jolie’s Salt anyway?) No, I want Idris to have his own brand where he can bring about his own level of suave and “street”. Being “the black one” is so generic and weird and I highly doubt he wants any part of that.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.