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2022 Was the Year Films Finally Championed Black Women in Horror

They deserve some applause!

keke palmer as emerald in Nope

Horror is a genre that’s always evolving and changing with the times. This year alone we’ve seen an increase in Black women in horror. Aside from the weird situation that Amandla Stenberg was put in by that “reviewer” of Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), Black women got their shine this year. The genre didn’t simply cast their Black women characters as the sidekicks to their white best friend. Most of them were the shining diamonds of their respective films.

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I mean, look at Keke Palmer’s award win for Jordan Peele’s ambitious Nope (2022).

It’s so exciting to see Black women representation in horror range so incredibly. We got Jasmin Savoy Brown in Scream 5 (2022), Keke Palmer in Nope (2022), Amandla Stenberg and Myha’la Herrold in Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), Aisha Dee in Sissy (2022), Georgina Campbell in Barbarian (2022) etc. Having most of the characters be confirmed queer is also a bonus. If you went back in time to even ten years ago, practically nobody would believe you that Black women would be in this many hits.

After many years of white women being centered in horror, this moment in time is long overdue. Historically most of our favorite final girls have been white. And I’m not going to shit on any of my personal favorites. However, seeing Black women kick ass this much in the horror world this year is like a warm blanket. No longer are we getting mere crumbs that we’re forced to be satisfied by.

The Black women in these movies are all characters that are very human. None of them are depicted as stereotypically strong, religious, and independent until a man comes along. Yes, that’s absolutely a Tyler Perry dig. The horror films that championed proper representation (even if the characters aren’t likable every five seconds) were made better by having done so. Take Sissy (2022) for instance. If it had a white woman as the lead, the film wouldn’t be as impactful.

I’m giving my “certified” thumbs up for all of these ladies and what they’ve done for the genre. You can watch most of the movies I mentioned by renting them or, in the case of Sissy, being a Shudder subscriber.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Author

Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.

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