Teen activists created the posters to make a point about black representation in film.
Fanartists have long made a point of racebending the Harry Potter cast, updating the predominantly white cast of the books. Now, something similar has arrived on the streets of London, and it’s part of a campaign for Black representation on film.
Last week, Londoners spotted some unusual posters for movies like Harry Potter and The Inbetweeners. Created by a teen activist group called Legally Black, the posters recast the lead characters with Black actors. They make a statement about the overwhelmingly white nature of certain film genres, and because the original posters are so memorable, they’re pretty eye-catching.
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The posters were originally just posted online, but they wound up on bus stops thanks to a guerilla art organization called Special Patrol Group. If you’re a Londoner, there’s a decent chance you’ve already seen their work. In 2014 and 2015, Special Patrol Group put up posters highlighting police brutality and corruption, parodying an official advertising campaign for the London Metropolitan Police.
Speaking to the Guardian, Legally Black member Tekle said, “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 used his own photograph for one of the characters in The Inbetweeners, while his dad plays James Bond in a remixed Skyfall poster.
The posters have now been taken down and replaced by official McDonald’s ads, but they live on in social media.
H/T The Guardian