Black History Month Superhero Spotlight – The [Original] Black Ranger

I aspired to be this guy

I aspired to be this guy

Remember him? Zack Taylor was apart of the original “team of teenagers with attitude” and without a doubt was one of my favorite characters growing up (although having the Black guy be the black ranger and the Asian woman be the yellow ranger was pretty messed up, in retrospect).  He was the ORIGINAL Black Ranger in the first season and the first half of the 2nd season.  Chosen by Zordon (The big face in the tube) to use the Dino Power of the Mastodon for being “clever and brave,” Zack definitely held his own against his Caucasian counterparts, even earning the spot of 2nd in command…you know…until Tommy showed up and took over.

In this episode I just knew Zack was going to beat the breaks off of Billy

So what made Zack so significant amongst the 20 seasons worth of what I estimate to be over 100 Power Rangers (Yes, we are indeed old)? Two words: Hip-Hop Kido. Sure I haven’t watched Power Rangers since the Lost Galaxy but I’m fairly sure there has never been another ranger who combined elements of hip-hop dancing and martial arts. His fighting style was completely one of a kind and it’s uniqueness was hands down made young Black males of my era want to be like him.

Tell me you didn’t try this a few times while watching MMPR and I’ll call you a bold faced liar

*Fun Fact* The guy who played Zack, Walter Emanuel Jones, was missing the middle finger on his left hand.  The show never brought attention to this detail, but if you look carefully in the footage you’ll see its true. 20 years later and you’re still learning new things.

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Black History Month Superhero Spotlight – Kwame

*Looks to the left* *Looks to the right* Oh look…I still have a blog. Weird.

Anyway, it’s Black History Month! You know, those 28 days that we are supposed to honor and celebrate the past, present, and future of the African American culture…. O_o please tell me this time of the year is ringing a bell for you…

Welp, since I’m me, I decided that instead of doing the normal thing and honor actual people, I would shine some light on prominent Black superhero characters that I grew up on.  Completely nerdy, yet you know you want to read more.

First up on the list is Captain Planet’s own wielder of the Earth power ring, Kwame.

"Gold all in my chain, gold all in my ring, gold all in my watch, don't believe me just watch"

“Gold all in my chain, gold all in my ring, gold all in my watch, don’t believe me just watch”

So I’m starting out with Kwame for two reason: 1) He’s probably one of the first African  superhero characters (he’s from Ghana, Africa if you didn’t know) you were aware of and 2) He’s is the first Black character I ever remember to be the leader of a team.

For 6 seasons, Kwame led the Planeteers through all types of eco-threatening hi-jinx  in the 1990’s (3 of which he was receiving marching orders from Whoopi Goldberg . Google it), summoning the power of Earth, which is a WAY better power than Heart. Ma-Ti sucks, to kick butt and take names. And when things got tough, he’d give the order to bring out the big guns by saying those four famous words, “Ma-Ti, you are useless” “Let our powers combine” calling forth the one and only Captain Planet.

“I’M MAKING TREES!!”

Kwame was a huge asset to the team; being the voice of reason and maintaining the team’s focus. He always kept his cool under pressure except for that one time when he questioned his usefulness and subsequently abandoned the Planeteers all while while saving the planet one day at a time. Hats off to the guy.

Oh! and lets not forget this guy provided Kwame’s voice

That's right, freaking Geordi LaForge...or as he's formally known by, That Guy From Reading Rainbow

That’s right, freaking Geordi LaForge…or as he’s formally known by, That Guy From Reading Rainbow

Always remember. The power is yours!