If you are anything like me, and are my age, you have anxiously been awaiting the release of the much anticipated (that's understatement ladies and gentlemen) sequel to Pixar's The Incredibles. The Incredibles 2 hits theaters Friday, June 15th. The first Incredibles movie came out in 2004, so this project has been 14 years in the making. In that 14 years my twelve year old self has kept my interests in seeing a sequel to one of my favorite movies very much alive! It seemed like nothing could put a damper on that excitement.
Some of us fans were a little disappointed that there will be no "time jump," as the movie takes place sometime shortly after the first movie, but that is forgivable. For me, as a fan, what is far less forgivable are the comments that were made by director Brad Bird about one of the sleeper (low-key) fan favorite characters from the original. I am of course talking about Frozone's (Samuel L. Jackson) wife, Honey (Kimberly Adair Clark)! Although, she is never actually on screen, she has arguably one of the most memorable scenes from the first movie (involving Frozone needing his super suit for the "greater good") and the most memorable line from the second trailer for The Incredibles 2, "Where are you going ASAP, you better be back ASAP," after hearing Frozone tell Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) over the phone, "I'll be there ASAP."
I ran across the article on the Shadow and Act website. The link is below:
In the article, they report that he was responding to questions about greater inclusion of people of color as characters in the films. His response regarding Honey, specifically, per Heroic Hollywood, was less than stellar. He said, "She's funnier as a voice. We actually went through all the trouble of designing a character and the design appears in the movie but not as Frozone's wife. We have used her design and she is a hero but there's not a lot of screen time though."
At a statement like this all you can really do in the moment is scratch your head, and, if you're more animated like me, let out a loud, "What in the...?"
Not only did the director crush our collective dreams of seeing the woman who Frozone loves, he did so in such a dismissive way. "She's funnier as a voice," might appear as innocent comment with validity, but for people of color, and more specifically Black people, there is an undertone. I don't believe he meant to do it intentionally, but by making that statement and the full comment, he has effectively participated in the erasure of Black Women. This happens with Black people as a whole, but it takes place far more with Black Women.
By saying, "She's funnier as a voice," Bird has effectively eliminated the possibility of any further characterization of honey besides the caricature of the sassy Black Woman we have received. It's insulting and unfair. Black Women in entertainment and media across the board are underrepresented, so his excuses as to why we will ultimately not see her is weak. The second part of his statement is troubling as well. Apparently, we can surmise that there will be a Black Woman superhero who might be in the background. According to his statement, her character design would have been Frozone's wife, you know, if she wasn't, "funnier as a voice." Based on the entirety of the statement above we will not see Honey, but we will hear her speak at least once. And we will see a Black Woman superhero at least once, but we will probably not here her speak. Wow.
Well, that's just great.
The Incredibles 2 opens in theaters June 15, 2018