By Kimberly Garcia
Blog Content Contributor
Growing up, I remember going into my brother’s room to look at the pink ranger. She is named Kimberly, so of course I was drawn to her. I didn’t notice much more beyond that about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. For my best friend, the Power Rangers were a part of his entire existence. When it was announced that there would be a remake, I was bombarded with messages of him pledging that we would see it on the first day it was released, and that in preparation for the movie I would attend his own class, Power Rangers 101. It would be a crash course for everything Power Ranger so when I saw the movie I would know where the inspiration came from. Throughout my “course” I noticed one thing about the series—there was always a diverse cast.
The series started in the United States in 1993 with Austin St. John as Jason, the Red Ranger; Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly, the Pink Ranger; Walter Jones as Zack, the Black Ranger; Thuy Trang as Trini, the Yellow Ranger and David Yost as Billy, the Blue Ranger. Two out of the five original power rangers were people of color. I think that is impressive, considering that it began in the 90s. I feel like it was only recently that movies started including actors of various backgrounds. As the series continued, the cast was kept quite diverse. It made me happy to see that in the early to late 90s, a series like the Power Rangers existed. In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, the yellow ranger was African American and the black ranger was Asian.
The series kept this diverse cast in mind while choosing the Rangers for the new movie. The Hollywood Reporter did a story about the Yellow Ranger in which the director, Dean Israelite, confirmed that the yellow ranger, a Latin girl, questions her sexual orientation. Many people were excited about this reveal as they were excited to see diversity on the big screen. The Blue ranger, an African American boy, is autistic and which creates more awareness to mental health and disorders that people may see as shameful. This impressed me because mental awareness is not something that is talked about as much as it should be. I think that it adds diversity in a way many people forget about.
I think that the Power Rangers franchise has always been ahead of the diversity argument and it continues to propel role models of marginalized groups further into the future. I think that it is a good movie to have circulating an industry that influences large groups of people, because sometimes it forgets to include everyone and Power Rangers does the opposite.
Featured image by Kimberly Garcia.