’s series “Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
” is a popular #FirstTimeISawMe subject: awkwardblackgirl.com
It’s powerful when you see a character in TV or film who’s like you. It can make you feel seen, understood, and important. However, there are swaths of viewers — people of color in particular — who rarely (if ever) see themselves on screen. So when an interesting, resonant character does appear, it strikes one hell of a chord. This is the driving force behind Netflix’s #FirstTimeISawMe, a campaign that called on artists like Ava DuVernay
to discuss the first time they encountered a character that reminded them of themselves. What started as a series of short videos morphed into a trending topic on Twitter.
People of color are tweeting their #FirstTimeISawMe stories, and members of the Lgbtq community, people living with disabilities, and many more have joined them.
“Jane the Virgin
” star Gina Rodriguez
participated by giving a shout out to America Ferrara’s turn in Patricia Cardoso
’s coming-of-age drama “Real Women Have Curves
.” It goes to show how powerful representation can be: Ferrera helped Rodriguez feel “present and heard” and Rodriguez is doing the same for plenty of Latina women.
The #FirstTimeISawMe was @AmericaFerrera in Real Women have Curves
and I fell absolutely in love with her. I felt present and heard. ❤️❤️❤️
Other tweets, like the one below, emphasize that a character does not always have to be the same racial demographic in order to resonate with the viewer. Pocahontas’ “independent and strong-willed nature” made just as much of an impression as her skin and hair.
@_TheOtherBox #FirstTimeISawMe in Pocahontas - different ethnicity but same skin and hair and her independent and strong-willed nature called out to me