Pop Culture Racism

The Gonzo Journals

March 7th, 2023

Yesterday, Seth Rogan and Nickelodeon released the trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. It’s animated in the same style as Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse and will be the first film of the franchise to focus on the “Teenage” portion of their title. Unfortunately, that’s not what a chunk of the fan base is seeing.

All over Twitter and Facebook – you knew this was coming, right – the most idiotic among us are crying at the fact April – the turtles’ human counterpart – is black. Part of me doesn’t know what to say about this, but you all know I’m going to say something anyway.

When did the nerds become the KKK?

I first noticed pop culture racism on the day the trailer released for Star Wars VII The Force Awakens. The very first character you saw in that trailer was Finn. Up until that moment, YouTubers had made quite a few fake fan trailers and most believed the official release was yet another hoax. That wasn’t the case, and red neck Star Wars fans immediately took to the internet to condemn Lucasfilm. In the Empire’s defense, how do we know that there weren’t millions of black stormtroopers in the original trilogy? They never took their helmets off!

Toxic Star Wars fandom continued with The Last Jedi because the fans began attacking Kelly Marie Tran’s portrayal of Rose. I personally find her very cute and a talented actress. Lucasfilm didn’t want to rock the boat, so they cut her part down to nothing in Rise of Skywalker. To be honest, I don’t believe I’ve looked at Star Wars the same since the trailer park hate groups came into play. It’s saddening. One of my life’s greatest loves was now consumed by racial hate mongering. The very definition of a real-world Imperial organization.

Darth Vader was the blackest brother in the galaxy, and no one complained about that in 1977. I think we loved each other a lot more back then. We actually had to face our accusers rather than hide behind the safety of our keyboards. That kind of talk would’ve gotten you punched in the face in the seventies! Hopefully by Billy Dee Williams. Lando don’t screw around.

Something told me that my fellow nerds would be up in arms the minute they watched the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer. It’s so ridiculous. Have any of them ever been to New York City? I have. Over 50 times in the past decade. What are the chances that a realistic story taking place in NYC would be whitewashed? It’s a melting pot, and that’s what I love about it! Now, let’s get down to the real nitty gritty.

In the original black and white Eastman and Laird TMNT comic book, we meet April early on. She’s an adult, but NOT a reporter. That was part of her cartoon storyline. No, she was Baxter Stockman’s assistant, and he was black. The original cartoon made him a sniveling white guy instead. I don’t recall anyone complaining about that because most Turtle’s fans cut their teeth on the cartoon rather than the original comic.

Are you ready for the big slap in the face? I don’t think April was originally a white chick. The comics were black and white and left a lot up to the imagination. Her hair, though, was NOT the hair of your typical Caucasian when we first met her. It was thick and frizzy, almost like that of African American descent or a mixture of that and Latino. When I first saw the colorized graphic novel of the same issue, she had quite the tan going on.

Deep down, in my opinion, I don’t think April was white in the source material. I think she eventually got a little brighter as the franchise grew. She was Caucasian in every iteration until the animated show Rise of the TMNT in which she was portrayed as African American. Guess what? Nerds bitched about that too.

Either way, I’m not going to the theater in August to see April. I’m going to watch the fucking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like the title suggests. This is what Michael Bay got wrong by focusing both his TMNT and Transformers films on the human characters rather than the title heroes. If I wanted to look at Megan Fox, I’d watch Jennifer’s Body instead. It’s an underrated masterpiece that was falsely marketed as spank material for lonely teenage boys. I’m not saying you can’t jerk off to an animated April – to each their own – but at least wait until you get home. I may be sitting next to you…and I don’t like butter on my popcorn.



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