The lack of representation in literature, the performing arts, and film has always been a source of frustration and disappointment for me. And when representation was present in these media, the image of blacks and other people of color were distorted. Such deficiencies and oversimplified images of non-whites are damaging to the psyche of everyone, not just persons of color.
But how do we remedy the lack of diversity? Do we demand that writers who are published and produced and who tend to be white create black characters? Or demand that the gatekeepers (the publishers and producers), who are also mostly white, promote diversity? Hell, yes they should. I can’t imagine these creators live in a vacuum where people of color do not exist. Yet, in so many works, there are no blacks in the future. Blacks have been erased from history or white-washed.
As an artist, I have a responsibility to create works of art that is inclusive and diverse. More than that, if I want to read books with characters that looked like me, I realize now, I have to create them. I must create the adventures and worlds in which I would like to immerse myself. And, those worlds should look like the one I live in which is populated by all ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientation.
Persons of Color cannot rely only on white artists and the publishers and producers to acquiesce to the demand. We have to be the artists and we have to be the gatekeepers. So, my mission is to produce diverse worlds with characters of depth.