September 01, 2019
As long as you’re alive, you can change things. That’s what Uncle Jack (David Oyelowo) insists to his niece Ashley (Storm Reid) in the new sci-fi film Don’t Let Go. In Don’t Let Go, Ashley is preserved from an earlier timeline — one before she, her mom (Shinelle Azoroh) and her dad (Brian Tyree Henry) were murdered. This theme of hope and perseverance can be traced back to Octavia Butler’s 1993 science fiction novel, Parable Of The Sower. 
Don’t Let Go, Fast Color And The Urgency Of Black Women’s Survival
“That’s all anybody can do right now. Live. Hold out. Survive,” Butler wrote. “I don’t know whether good times are coming back again. But I know that won’t matter if we don’t survive these times.”
It’s been decades since Butler first emboldened her readers to imagine themselves in a world yet unseen, but today, Hollywood has started to recognise the importance of her message, as more Black female lead characters endure unfathomable odds in film and television.
In Don’t Let Go, Ashley races against the calendar to avert a messy police-involved drug deal to save her life and her parents’ lives. In Fast Color, which has just been picked up for an Amazon series order, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a woman with a supernatural gift struggling to survive in a world on the brink of extinction. And in See You Yesterday, Eden Duncan-Smith’s character builds a time machine to try to prevent the fatal shooting of her brother by police.These films follow an impressive — though sporadic — tradition of Black women and girls as lead characters striving to protect their mortality. This cinematic lineage includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell in 1997’s Eve’s Bayou, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe in 2016’s Hidden Figures, and Reid in last year’s A Wrinkle in Time.
On the TV side, women like Nichelle Nichols and Sonequa Martin-Green in the Star Trek franchise, Gina Torres in Firefly, Freema Agyeman in Sense8, Thandie Newton in Westworld, and Nafessa Williams in Black Lightning have contributed to the trend. 
Still, nothing compares to what we’re experiencing right now, which is a steady flow of sci-fi releases featuring Black women and girls front and centre, trying to defeat otherworldly obstacles that bear a stark resemblance to the problems we face in the real world.
However, it would be naïve to think that white-dominated Hollywood would suddenly greenlight a larger quantity of these films without proof they’d be successful. Tananarive Due, an author and screenwriter who also lectures on Black horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA, credits the record-breaking commercial success of Black Panther — which features female warriors as focal characters fighting to preserve the motherland Wakanda — for forcing the industry to finally value sci-fi films with Black women as lead characters.  
“Black women characters like Okoye [Danai Gurira] and Shuri [Letitia Wright] are as popular as T’Challa [Chadwick Boseman],” Due told HuffPost. “Before, we didn’t have an example of a Black sci-fi movie that everyone had seen, and nobody wants to lose money. As long as it feels like a sure thing, it’s going to be a very interesting time ahead.”
Due also points to increased enthusiasm for literary adaptations, including her own. “I’ve been publishing since 1995,” she said. But recently, “I’ve seen a huge bump of interest in my [earlier novels]. I have more work either under option or being negotiated for option at the same time now than I ever have before.”
Though she’s keeping mum about which of her books have been optioned for the silver screen, Due was happy to discuss other literary titans such as Butler, Tomi Adeyemi and Matt Ruff. They created valiant Black heroines battling supernatural plagues, slavery and other miseries in their works Wild Seed, Children Of Blood And Bone, and Lovecraft Country, respectively, and will at last be getting the recognition they deserve on screen in the coming months. 
“More executives and producers who’ve been championing this work for years are finally seeing daylight in the pitching room,” Due said. “Children of Blood and Bone is going to be a Lucasfilm production, the first one that isn’t a Star Wars or an Indiana Jones. That is huge.”
Other than their rising prominence, Due sees Black female-led sci-fi as a space for audiences to more comfortably address miscarriages of justice that have become more centralised in our conversations.
“These stories are so perfect as metaphors for social justice ills or ills within the family, like in Eve’s Bayou,” Due said. “They give us just enough distance from real life, so that we can look at it more critically. It’s tough to talk about Black families losing their children to police and gun violence. If you make it a time travel story [like in See You Yesterday], you can relax just enough to dream of a better life and world.”While it’s tempting to consider this influx as an indication of a new Hollywood, it’s hard to forget that black films have often experienced waves of success only for that to dissipate after a few years.
The Black rom-com heyday of the ’90s comes to mind, when there were films like Love Jones, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and a host of others. That same time period also produced a slew of Black crime films like Set It Off and New Jack City. Still, Due remains hopeful about what’s happening now. 
“There are so many different platforms now, and so many more Black writers and directors getting exposed to genre,” she explains. “I don’t think we can repeat what happened in the ’90s, when it felt like the spigot was just going off.”
But she is cautious of the enormous responsibility of Black sci-fi protagonists when considered against the “strong Black woman” trope. While the heroines in films like Black Panther are worthy of praise, their depictions sometimes don’t allow much room for vulnerability or nuance. “As Black women, we have to understand that we can’t always be expected to carry people with us,” Due said. “There’s a difference between leading and carrying. Leading is great. Carrying will break you.”
What remains at the root of these stories — whether it’s a young Black girl struggling to prevent her future murder due to systemic violence in Don’t Let Go or a woman navigating her extraordinary powers to save the world in Fast Color — is a desire for Black female preservation, the kind of heroism to which we can all aspire and relate.
“In stories like Fast Color, they’re on the brink of an apocalypse, so it hardly feels like fiction on one level,” Due said. “Times are so hard, and we fear that we’re not safe. So images of people fighting for Black women’s futurity are very inspirational. To paraphrase Queen Ramonda [Angela Bassett], this is our time — and we’ve earned it.”
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Naya Rivera Investigation Update: Police Reveal New Details
July 11, 2020
NvgF__4G7RM
Brooklyn Beckham & Nicola Peltz Are Engaged
July 11, 2020
g3aHgMMWAwo
Lil' Kim's First E! Interview: E! News Rewind
July 11, 2020
dizeE5_18C4
'Honey Boy' Director Al'ma Harel Explains How 'Bombay Beach' Introduced Her to Shia LaBeouf
July 11, 2020
TW9HOfgdnxo
How To Craft A Skeksi From The 'Dark Crystal' Creature Creators
July 11, 2020
Ixto3tj6eVE
'The Baby-Sitter's Club' Star Momona Tamada Reveals Her Similarities to Her Character Claudia Kishi
July 10, 2020
3_crGuAKcKQ
TikTok Hype House's Thomas Petrou Will Migrate if App Shuts Down | TMZ
July 12, 2020
uiOmUNQuuLE
Matt Lauer Dines with Mystery Woman Before Yachting on 'Resilient' | TMZ
July 11, 2020
d8NA7ePSjbU
Julian Edelman Offers Deal to DeSean Jackson, 'Come to Holocaust Museum' | TMZ
July 10, 2020
DURXCLehwPs
Johnny Depp begs Amber Heard to cut him in disturbing audio recording | Page Six Celebrity News
July 11, 2020
2Z-IY1mrFgA
Who is Ryan Seacrest dating next? | Page Six Celebrity News
July 09, 2020
qx32TwANLc0
The ‘Glee’ curse: Is Naya Rivera the latest victim in show’s tragic history? | Page Six News
July 09, 2020
ktZKEmY-oEo
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - AC Milan
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Arsenal
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Mallorca
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Leicester City
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Fiorentina - Verona
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Bologna
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Everton
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Lecce
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Sampdoria
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Leganes - Valencia
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Crystal Palace
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Spal
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Athletic Bilbao
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Espanyol - Eibar
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Chelsea
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Manchester City
11
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Real Betis
11
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Atalanta
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Burnley
11
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Barcelona
11
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Brescia - Roma
10
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Alaves
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Manchester United
09
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Inter Milan
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
08
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Newcastle United
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Napoli
07
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Juventus
07
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Atletico Madrid
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Leicester City
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Chelsea
06
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Everton
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Roma
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Manchester City
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Barcelona
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Aston Villa
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Bologna
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid
04
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.