A group of Black activists in Brixton is spreading a powerful message about the need for more racial representation in Hollywood. The collective—dubbed Legally Black—reimagined film posters of mainstream movies with predominately White casts by replacing them with Black leads, the Guardian reported.
The group added a dose of melanin to film and television posters that included Harry Potter, Titanic, and the Inbetweeners, the news outlet writes. What initially started as an apartment décor idea quickly spurred into a viral campaign after it caught the eye of an advertising group called Special Patrol Group. The ad agency is known for producing campaigns that address social issues like police brutality and corruption.
18-year-old Shiden Tekle—who created the campaign with four of his friends—says that his own experiences as a Black man inspired him to develop the project so that the negative narrative surrounding Black characters in films and on television can be changed. “We are always looking at the media and never seeing any positive representations of black people. In big films, black characters are often playing criminals and drug dealers, and that quickly conditions people to believe that all black people are like that,” he told the Guardian. “So, we decided to put black faces in the big movies, and challenge people’s perceptions and assumptions.”
Tekle called on his family and friends to be the subjects of the posters. Each one of the posters bears a powerful statement about the need for more Black representation in Hollywood. A reimagined poster of the British television program Doctor Who reads “If you’re surprised, it means you don’t see enough Black people in major roles. Join us in our mission for better black representation in the media.”
The lack of diversity in the British entertainment industry is alarming. According to the news outlet, a study conducted by the British Film Institute illustrated that Black British actors only made up 0.5 percent of 45,000 roles between the years of 2006 and 2016.