After what felt like a long time coming, Marvel introduced its first television series centred around a Muslim superhero, to air on Disney Plus. The character, and the actress chosen to fill the role, have taken both the fictional and nonfictional universes by storm.
Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel made her debut in the 14th Captain Marvel Comic in 2013, and also starred in her own series the year after which won a Hugo Award in 2015.
Kamala’s ability to shape-shift, along with her strong drive to make the world a better place, makes her adventure truly unique and so much fun to witness.
Her journey entails trying to keep her community safe while having to balance her commitment to school, her identity, and of course -- her superpowers.
Her culture and religion are also a central point to the plot, adding a new dimension to her representation, and offering young Muslim kids the chance to see themselves represented as heroes.
Kamala is also a part of a group of young heroes called the Champions, but she is not the only Champion here, as Marvel as an entity should also be recognized for doing such a great job of maintaining inclusivity since the very inception of their comic books.
Next year in 2021, Disney+ will be launching the television version of the Ms. Marvel series, and has selected Canadian actress Iman Vellani to play the role.
Hailing from Markham Ontario, Vellani was selected as a member of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), New Wave Committee, and is sure to wow audiences in her debut role next year.
It’s great to see representation like this on such a large platform, by giving a different kind of representation to Muslim characters on screen.
It is a huge win, given that the “representation of minority groups in mass media has a powerful educational impact on audiences,” which is why seeing yourself on screen means so much.
It helps to break down societal stereotypes and allow us to steer away from the idea and process of judging others based on their looks, culture or religion.
Seeing people on screen that look like us aids in our understanding of not only ourselves but the people and world around us.
According to an article published by pbs.org, diverse representation “shows a message that everybody has a place in this world.”
It also impacts our mental health, especially because when we see people that we can relate to on the big screen, we are reminded that we matter, and that we too, are capable of achieving anything -- maybe even being superheroes.
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