Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Airbrushing Uhura

Weeks after everyone else, I decided to get some Star Trek glasses from Burger King. And because I was weeks after everyone else, they only had Uhura and Nero left - so I got both.

Why this is worth mentioning, though, is because I barely recognized Zoe Saldana as Uhura. Bizarrely, she's been so excessively Photoshopped that her black hair looks golden-blonde. And her skin? Well, I'll put an image from the Star Trek site of Eric Bana's Nero glass beside the Uhura glass - can you tell that one actor is white and other's black? (And if you knew nothing more than this distinction, would you misapply those labels?)

edit: And there's probably a common sensical (and so incredibly problematic) reason that their skin colors seem to have been swapped - Nero is 'evil' (his glass is darker and the ship must absorb ambient light, it's such a deep green-black) and Uhura is 'good' (and much like her skin and hair, the ship and its background glow unnaturally). Because good is bright and evil is dark, of course.


James said...

"And if you knew nothing more than this distinction, would might you misapply those labels?"

Bana's definitely darker, but I can't turn off the part of my brain that recognizes Zoe Saldana, so my hypothetical's malfunctioning.

Did you see Coraline? I'm still digesting, but I counted at least 3 (4, really) Magical Negroes, one of whom I wouldn't have known was black if not for his hair.

neilshyminsky said...

I barely recognized her on the glass - i saw the blonde hair and was like, 'I thought this was an Uhura glass... oh, wait.'

I haven't seen Coraline, though I certainly will. (I've seen, I think, one newish movie - a rental - since my baby was born in January. So yes, I'm even blogging about Star Trek without having seen it.) The Magical Negro has had an oddly long life - because it's perceived as a 'good' stereotype, I suppose. I wonder how many will appear in Disney's 'Princess and the Frog'? (Surely there will be some, if only to balance out the evil voodoo priest, who will certainly be one of the most offensive big-screen characters of the decade.)