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Five Black Superheroines in Film & TV in Celebration of ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’

Five Black Superheroines in Film & TV in Celebration of ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’

Representation is valuable because it makes us feel less alone. If you are a Black woman or were raised/socialized into Black womanhood with a lack of support, you might feel supported by seeing Black women like us or who we aspire to be like in the media.

Representation may not change our real-life circumstances right away, but it certainly changes our outlook on the possibilities of how we’re seen. I believe that is empowering.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods has a wide range of women in action showcased, including Super Hero Darla (Meagan Good). In celebration of the film’s release, here are are five Black female superheroes in film and television.

  1. Domino (Zazie Beetz; Deadpool 2)

You mean to tell me there’s a Black woman whose superpower is pure luck?! 

That is GENIUS. 

Deadpool is immediately doubtful of Domino’s validity of luck being her only power, only to witness her as the only surviving recruit of X-Force in one of the largest action scenes of the sequel. Classic white men: suspicious of a Black woman’s ability and prowess.

In this film, the Black woman does not die first. In fact, she doesn’t die at all, which was so refreshing to me when I first saw this at the movies. I dressed up as Domino for Halloween. Only a few people recognized who I was (their loss), but it was worth it!

Shout out to Beetz for defying expectations of what a female action superhero is supposed to look like by not shaving her armpits. Stellar!

  1. Angela Abar/Sister Night (Regina King; Watchmen)

“I got a nose for white supremacy, and he smells like bleach” is one of the best lines of dialogue that has ever existed on television. We need more Black vigilantes like this woman right here. Regina King continues to be cast as Black vigilante characters because it works. 

In a world where racial tensions are more conspicuous due to the rise of media, Angela represents the question of, when systems and law enforcement fail us, what are the alternatives? When racism continues to be generational and cyclical, how do we break the cycle? 

I also love heroes who aren’t even trying to be heroes; they just want the environment around them to be better. This superhero story about Black Wall Street deserved more than one season. 

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  1. Allison Hargreeves (Emmy Raver-Lampman; Umbrella Academy)

Listen, does she get into more “villain” territory in season three of Umbrella Academy? Yes. 

Does it discredit the anomaly of what it’s like to live as a Black woman who has the power to convince people to her will? Does it discredit her experience of constantly navigating her power, so it is used for good instead of bad? No! Absolutely not! 

Praise her heroism from season one through the early parts of season three, please, and thank you. 

  1. Riri Williams/Ironheart (Dominique Thorne; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever & Ironheart)

White people from the government stole the incredible invention that she made for a classroom assignment. It likely made for a classroom assignment because she wants to use it as a service to others, not harm. Yet ninety-five percent of Namor’s motive is to kill the Black scientist…INSTEAD OF THE COLONIZERS???? RIRI IS ON YOUR SIDE NAMOR! NOT THE VILLAIN! 


On a lighter note, I love the humor she brings along with her skills, and I’m excited about her show’s release. 

  1. Darla (Meagan Good; Shazam! & Shazam! Fury of the Gods)

If Billy (Zachary Levi) is the epitome of a cocky teenager (Asher Angel) in an adult body, Darla is the epitome of a sweet innocent child (Faithe Herman; a.k.a. young Sister Night) in an adult body.

Darla has no time for bullies who mess with her family or the world where she and her family live. It’s also a delight to see her so easily amused with her abilities when she goes into superhero mode! She only has to kick butt when she has to. 

After seeing a lot of the archetype of the strong, fierce Black woman in superhero movies, which is of course still wonderful and has its place, it’s nice to see a change of pace in the Black female superhero archetype. It is nice to see a Black woman as a superhero who exudes gentleness and wonder. I want no harm to come Darla’s way. Absolutely NONE!

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in theaters on March 17, 2023. 

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