In the year 1993 Fox, television network, released its first- real life action super hero show called (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers). The show centered around five high school students Zack, Kimberly, Billy, Trini and Jason who lived in the small, mythical town of Angel Grove. Two evil sorcerers Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, invade the earth with the soul intent of taking it over and making the earthlings their slaves. The five high school friends are given special powers by an ancient sorcerer of the light named Zordon, who is trapped inside a time-wharf, gives them special ancient powers which will allow them to transform into mighty super heroes in order to defend earth from the evil monsters Rita and Lord Zedd sent. The show was an instant hit and classic, right from its very first episode debut. The unique, and wonderful thing about the show was that each actor who was a power ranger were all from different races. The shows unique approach attracted kids and teens from around the world, myself included. I think the number one reason I fell in love with the show is because before its arrival, I really had no one I looked up to in my life. Kimberly Hart was my favorite, and the first person I really ever looked up to. She was everything I strived to be, and I have to admit I did have a crush on Jason. I was six at the time it first aired, and my friends today sometimes crack jokes about me watching power rangers, and trying to perform Kimberly’s flips and kicks in my back yard of which I must say, I was not good at.
Looking back on that one highlight of my life today, I have to say I have faced some disappointment in it. Not because of the fact I’m embarrassed that I watched the show, but because I had to suddenly embrace the harsh, troubling truth that went on behind the morphing cameras. When you are a kid you are pure of heart. The world seen through a fortunate six year olds eyes is perfect. There is no evil, everything his candy hearts and rainbows. It was that way for me. The Power Rangers weren’t actors, they were real. I could sleep better at night with the idea that the power rangers were somehow watching over me, and were protecting me from the evil in the world.
Just a few weeks ago the candy hearts and rainbows disappeared, and I will never view the show I watched as a kid the same ever again. It started with an interview I found on YouTube that featured the actor David Yost, who played Billy the blue power ranger. Three minutes into the interview, and my eyes brightened, the actor was gay. I couldn’t believe it… One of my childhood super heroes was someone who was just like me. I was immediately ready to find the directors and producers mailing addresses and thank them all for showing love for equality during the 90’s. Which was a horrible time for the LGBT’s. In that moment the tornado struck. The actor went into detail about what it was like working on set. He told of how he was humiliated and bullied by the producers and directors. They constantly yelled gay slurs in his direction. They even went as far as to humiliate him on camera, making his mighty, triceratops dinosaur battle robot, known as a Zord, into a unicorn for the soul purpose to make a mockery of him. Later on I did some research for myself, and found that not just he, but some of the other actors also experienced discrimination on set. The actor Walter Jones who play the Black Power Ranger was also horribly mistreated, and was suddenly axed out of the show with no explanation, along with actors Austin St John (Red Ranger) and Thuy Trang (Yellow Ranger).
The directors and producers were proud to present their international cast, but behind the cameras they were bullies, whose only desires were to make money off of something that turned out to be a big hit. I believe that the international team was something unexpected, but I think that was the most thrilling part of the show for me, was that you could experience other cultures. I just couldn’t believe the truth, I didn’t want to believe it. I refused to for a while.
One afternoon, for the first time in almost 18 years I decided to return and watch the show I loved growing up. It only took the first episode I watched to see the discrimination. The fact that the two bullies featured in the show were named Bulk because he was heavier set, and the other one Skull, and he was seen as being dumb and was always very clumsy. I witnessed the unicorn robot zord David Yost talked about. The more I watched, the more I realized how much prejudice behavior I grew up around. Being only six years old at the time, there was no way I could have noticed it, but it was there. I realize now that I should have paid more attention to Billy the blue ranger. To me, he is a true hero for going to work every day knowing he would face hate and humiliation. I am proud to call him a worthy ally in this fight for love and equality that we face today, and praise him for his courage to make himself known to his fans who grew up watching him as the blue ranger. Kimberly Hart will always be one I will remember as being meek and warmhearted, and now I can add a new role model to my collection. Billy the Blue Ranger. He was brave and very clever, and the actor who played him is also brave and a true hero.
If I had a chance to meet the producers of the show, I would tell them this:
In front of the audience you displayed equality and peace, and that anyone no matter their race or gender, can make a difference in the world. Behind the cameras, you were not the wonderful, loving hearted creators I thought you were. You can try to hide the truth all you want, but the proof is there for those of us who look back on it and wonder how we could laugh at a heavy set guy named Bulk, who was always being humiliated by having pies, smoothies, and mud tossed his way. Your unicorn zord that spits out rainbows doesn’t just make a mockery of David Yost, but for other LGBT’s as a whole. That rainbow you poke fun of means something more to me then you will ever comprehend. It resembles strength and hope, and that rainbow gives the LGBT’s, like me, a sense of honor. We can look at the rainbow and remember despite what people say we do matter and we deserve our spot in this world. Just like it happened with me, the show will be passed on to our younger generation of today, and when they get older the truth will happen and they will consider you a major disappointment. Your creativity and talent is not what made the show so special for me, it was the actors you placed in it. You created something very wonderful without even knowing it. You covered it all. You created nationality and you even had an LGBT member of whom you should have been proud to have on your show. No doubt I will pass your show onto kids like my baby cousin if I ever get the chance. I will show him that the power rangers are supposed to fight the encroachment of hate in the world. I won’t point out that you were hypocrites.
For representing equality, I will say thank you. I only hope one day you hear the message of your own show, learn to walk its talk, and live it.
It is what the Blue Ranger would do.
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