American artist Markus Prime is creating with a vengeance. The goal: completely revert the status quo of racial politics in cartoons, and simultaneously give young black women more relevant, representative role models. How you ask? By refashioning famous superheroes as black women.
In his new book titled B.R.U.H – the Black Renditions of Universal Superheroes, Prime has a pretty distinct agenda, one that is pervasive throughout many nooks and crannies of popular culture: the misrepresentation, of black people – in particular, black women. Speaking with The Fader, Prime says the seeds for his quest were lain when he was just a child. “The first time it bothered me, I was five years old, watching Bugs Bunny. The black guy hunting him was the most stereotypical black dude ever. He had huge pink lips, he had this dialect where he was just overly country. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.”
Since then, Prime has used his artistic prowess to essentially fight evil – the misconduct of fellow artists, of Hollywood, of people in general, in their oppression of black women. B.R.U.H is a collection of drawings in coffee-table format which Prime hopes will be the impetus for meaningful discussion, void of any text so that nothing is explicitly explained and talk is necessary.
He says the idea was born from some experiences on Tumblr and the complete lack of black women on blogs dedicated to beautiful women in general. The seed planted, Prime made it his mantra to only draw black women from then on, focusing primarily on cartoons and anime. “When I learned that April O’ Neal from the Ninja Turtles was actually a woman of colour in the original, I was heartbroken,” he says,“why couldn’t she be left that way?”
Prime is addressing racial politics in a way that is both poignant and entertaining – no mean feat – and we think it’s pretty damn great. B.R.U.H is out now and you an buy it here. You can also read his entire interview with The Fader here.