Above you’ll see some super A+ responses to the Aquaman promotional image being released and I could write up a whole thing about how these people are gross and wrong but I just want to reiterate what Jason has been expressing so far
“I’ve had to bust ass to be in this industry. A lot of things are very black and white,” he says. “Aquaman is especially cool because being a Kanaka Maoli—being Hawaiian—our Gods are Kanaloa and Maui, and the Earth is 71 percent water, so I get to represent that. And I’m someone who gets to represent all the islanders, not some blond-haired superhero. It’s cool that there’s a brown-skinned superhero.”
“I did go to school for Marine Biology, but the cool thing is… the greatest thing for me is that Polynesians, our gods, Kahoali, Maui, all these water gods, so it’s really cool and a honor to be playing a [water] character. And there’s not too many brown superheroes, so I’m really looking forward to representing the Polynesians, the natives.My family are some of the greatest water men on earth. I’m not, but I’m going to go train with them. But it’s really an honor just being a Polynesian. And water is the most important thing in this world and we all know it. It’s cool be a part of DC’s universe.”
Hopefully people will realize and understand that this film is more than just another superhero movie, it’ll be the first solo superhero film featuring a Pacific Islander actor. The second one will follow soon after with Dwayne Johnson playing Black Adam in Shazam!
Even past that though, Pacific Islander actors have been integral to so many fantasy and science fiction movies, often playing intimidating bouncers, savage creatures (many of the Uruk Hai/Orcs in Lord of the Rings were Maori & Pasifika extras) and most of the time being under an excruciating amount of prosthetics or cgi.
A prime example would be Temuera Morrison who has been steadily working in Hollywood and has portrayed Jango Fett in Star Wars and Abin Sur in Green Lantern but he’s not a household name (unless you live in a Pasifika household) like many of his co-stars in these particular films are.
Then there’s Manu Bennett who was Azog in The Hobbit and is also a prominent character, playing Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke, on the CW’s Arrow, he himself recognizing and discussing the struggles an actor of color has and how representation is incredibly important.
Point is is that as a Pasifika person it’s a very awesome and uplifting thing to have this amount of attention on a Pasifika actor being very open about his identity and incorporating that into his work. I’m all for this Aquaman reboot with a Pasifika lead, I’m all for supporting my own people’s representation before caring about whether or not the lead has blonde hair or blue eyes, and I’m all for recognizing that we’ve been here all along, even when most people don’t notice us.
Jaiyah Saelua is an American Samoan international football player and the first transgender player to compete in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier in 2011.
Following reality star Caitlyn Jenner’s public debut on the cover of Vanity Fair, Jaiyah writes an open letter on the subject of transgender women in Samoa and the Pacific:
“Respect is said to be the foundation of the Samoan culture, and that includes respect for fa’afafine. Fa’afafine who are respected by their families and community are able to overcome obstacles more easily and realize their abilities to reach their highest potentials earlier in life. These fa’afafine become very crucial members of society. Everyone knows that Samoan humor is crude, but to what extent does it become an issue of the Samoan people? How can one support Caitlyn Jenner [who is without a doubt an icon for transgender women & fa’afafine together, but a complete stranger] and not support the fa’afafine in their own families? That is when it becomes an issue. We must understand that joking about a fa’afafine is not a means of support. Understand them first.”
Anapela Polataivao in Night Shift (2012, dir. Zia Mandviwalla)
Salote, an airport cleaner starts another long night shift. She keeps her head down, does her job and gleans her survival from what others leave behind. No one would usually spare her a second glance. [x]
Director, Writer, Producer, [Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Te Rangi]
A passionate advocate for Māori creative control, late director Merata Mita documented some of the most controversial events of Aotearoa’s last fifty years. Mita’s work includes Patu!, a documentary on the 1981 Springbok tour. Her 1988 drama Mauri remains only the second fiction feature directed by a Māori woman.
This women should be a role model for all pacific islander women. Go read her biography. Such a badass.
4 Films starring and about Pasifika people Streaming on Netflix
We’ve compiled a list of four films about or staring Pasifika people and narratives availible on Netflix. As of right now this is based on American Netflix. If there are more you know of please add to the list or contact us if you want us to do so. Happy viewing!
Splinters (2011, dir. Adam Pesce) - Splinters is the first feature-length documentary film about the evolution of indigenous surfing in the seaside village of Vanimo in Papua New Guinea. With no access to economic or educational advancement, surfing is not only a pillar of village life but also a means to prestige; a spot on the Papua New Guinea national surfing team is the way to see the wider world.
Hawaiian: The Legnd of Eddie Aikau (2013, dir. Sam George) - The documentary chronicles the remarkable life and times of the late Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea.
Princess Ka'iulani (2009, dir. Marc Forby) - The true story of a Hawaiian princess’ attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.
Boy (2010, dir. Taika Waititi) - Set on the east coast of New Zealand in the year 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old kid and devout Michael Jackson fan gets a chance to know his father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.
In Football We Trust intimately portrays four young Polynesian football players struggling to overcome gang violence, family pressures and near poverty as they enter the high stakes world of college recruiting and the promise of professional sports. [x]
Directed by Tony Vainuku, the first Tongan American filmmaker to be selected for Sundance, and Erika Cohn.
Support the documentary’s kickstarter to bring this story to more screens.
I worked with fuatino to get this one as accurate as possible and still a believable Disney style. The outfit is pretty basic taupou regalia (minus the elaborate headpiece since that wouldn’t be worn on a daily basis anyway) and the hair is based on this really interesting article about hairstyles in pre-contact Samoa. Apparently women would color/bleach their hair with coral, and higher class women would have their heads shaved with two long curls to denote their rank! Pretty cool stuff.
Hello, tumblr! This is a submissions call for a zine in the works that is focusing on Pacific Islanders! So, to all you creative Pasifika babes, send in your art work, essays, stories, photography, and whatever you have available to our publication!
As of right now there is no theme, but the focus of this zine will be, to quote one of our organizers, is “To bring focus to Pacific Islanders as Indigenous peoples and our plight to reclaim our languages, foods, islands, and ancestors while also bringing awareness to our intersectional identities and how we not only deal with racism but transphobia, homophobia, classism, sexism, and any other oppression that contributes to our own experiences and/or ties into our experiences as Pacific Islanders.” so please send in anything and everything you have and spread the word so we can have an awesome first issue!
THE DEADLINE DATE FOR THIS CYCLE OF ZINE SUBMISSIONS IS FEBRUARY 17. Send in your work as soon as possible to: xHalafihi@gmail.com with subject line ‘Pacific Island Zine Submission’
With a casting call being put out for Moana’s voice, I thought I’d make a few posts with Pasifika vocalists who I think would be absolutely great.
Since most signs are pointing towards Moana being a Māori princess, one vocalist I think would be great to consider would be Maisey Rika. Watch her music video forTangaroa Whakamautai and listen to her absolutely amazing vocals in Te Reo Māori.