MOTU Nation group on Facebook) is one hero and two villains. The hero, Clamp Champ, is a Black man. The two villains are of Asian decent and both have a stereotypical idea about what is thought of the Asian cultures in white media, especially in Reagan era television. These two characters are a Karate fighter (Jitsu) and a Ninja (Ninjor)...go figure, or in this case, action figure. The only other character that was a question was Evil-Lyn because she is human like with yellow skin. But, seeing her in the cartoon basically places her in the pale white skinned category...so white. Let's take a look at the He-Man or New Adventures of He-Man that started in 1989. Will it be more racially diverse?
Black guy (Vizor) and one Asian man (Nocturna). Nocturna is a bit of a stereotype with him being a Kung Fu style master. The progression seams to be that this time no negative representation of people of color as villains was in place. But to be fair, neither were whites. There was a smart move in this line to make the bad guys all mutants and monsters. I'm sorry, if you are a monster, alien or mutant creature. The line ultimately ended due to fans not liking it from its redesign. In 2002, Mattel relaunched the Masters of the Universe toy line. It was updated in its sculpt and look. It is a small toy line and there were several fan favorite action figures that we never got made as actual action figures. Instead, we got those favorites as a small action figure sized statue. That's right, a non-moving plastic statue for collectors! In a modern telling of the series, let's take a look at how racially diverse is this toy line.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, how in the world did this guy start this? I was watching a video that Ed's Retro Geek Out was showing. It was a video on knock off Masters of the Universe toys. In that video, He talks about Olmec toy's, "Sun-Man and the Rulers of the Sun" toy line. Then, my best bud, Jeff sends me a link to a video also about the line. I saw a strong He-Man like Black man that used intelligence and empathy to battle ignorance and greed. This was Sun-Man! I had to know more. I learned about Yla's story in the Washington Post. "Yla Eason (pronounced Y-la) received inspiration from her 3-year-old son to create a line of black toys for boys and girls. It was her son’s declaration that he could not be a superhero because He-Man was white that prompted Ms. Eason to make a change in the toy market and in her son's mindset.", says Debbie Behan Garrett in her 2010 artical on Sun-Man. I felt motivated and ready to help make a change. Knowing that Mattel was relaunching, yet again, the Masters of the Universe line, now called Masters of the Universe Origins, I felt that now was the time to act! I created a petition and I have been spreading the word. Now the good message doesn't come without backlash or blind ignorance from those who think it is stupid to add heroes of color into the upcoming toy line. I have been mocked and made fun of on the group page, but I will take it to diversify a beloved toy line so that no child of color in America will think that they can't have the power, just as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. If you would take a moment and open the link to my petition:
Make Masters of the Universe Origins toys more racially diverse with new characters.Read it over at the very least. Start thinking it through. Sign it, and share it. And when you share it, use the #DiversifyMOTUOrigins so we can find it all over the internet. The numbers in the graphs above are sadfor racial diversity and it's time for all of us to change it.
Jeff and I are having an 8th anniversary of our show, Talking Toys with Taylor and Jeff! It has been a great ride. Celebrate the occasion by going through our backlog of shows on MarvinDogMedia!