I can honestly say that it never occurred to me that some people would be offended by my reimagining the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I never thought, not even for one second, that it was controversial to rewrite a fictional character and to playfully reimagine the plot or outcome of their story.
Little Red Riding Hood has been reimagined so many times since it was first introduced as a complete and written story, I would never think that one more adaptation would rock the boat.
I've been sharing my progress with Lil' Red in the Hood, my adaptation of the classic tale and I noticed that a handful of individuals were expressing their dissatisfaction with my story, and they even stopped following me on Instagram! It made me feel exposed to know that some people who would be offended by a black Little Red Riding Hood would also follow me, a black woman. How did they think I viewed the world if not through the lenses of being a black woman? Could they not tell that I was a black woman? How could they not! It honestly made me uneasy to know that my content, when kept unrelated to my culture, was pleasing to them, but as soon as I spoke about my blackness, they were offended.
I hate that my culture and my race are seen as controversies. Taking a fictional character and making them black is seen as controversial. But is it, really?
Is it really so odd to want to recreate a story with a different cultural context? Is it really so off-putting to watch a fictional character in different skin? We all know the answer to these questions. The answer is no, it's not odd or unique or even unexpected. But it can be racial if someone wants it to be.
Unfortunately, black American people have not always had the privilege to be seen as human. Their experiences were disregarded and suppressed. No one cared about what the little black girl would have done or how she would have spoken to the wolf. No one wanted to know what was in her basket or what her mother would have instructed her to do. No one would have empathized with her or her grandmother's pleas for help from the big bad wolf.
No one until now.
I am really not trying to make waves. I don't consider my blackness as a political statement or a call to social activism. I want to reimagine this classic story because it is a story that I have wanted to write for a long time now. Writing this story with a black American cultural context is a writing challenge for me. I also want to create a story that resonates with people who think like me and for those who have lived a shared experience. Isn't this what all authors want?
I consider myself completely neutral in respects to politics and social movements. I do not claim any particular political party, nor do I support any social activist groups. When I speak on my experience as a black person or I try to share my blackness with others, I am not fist-pumping or rallying for justice. I am simply sharing my art through the lenses that I know: the lenses of being a black woman. I am a writer who is writing a rendition of a classic. The main character is a little black American girl.
If you find this controversial, please, unfollow me.