In Noemiea black girl becomes heroic
Noemie – based on the DC comic of the same name – is a superhero origin story about a bubbly, confident teenager who is loved and involved in her high school. It’s a fresh take on a popular trope and an important representation that shines. When Naomi McDuffie (Kaci Walfall – only the second black woman to lead a DC superhero show on The CW) skateboards to school in the morning in killer sneakers, Noemie offers its audience unforgettable scenes on “Icon” by Jaden and “I am not a woman, I’m a god” by Halsey.
It’s immediately clear that this is a representative show and directed at those who are historically marginalized by the great superhero stories; Noemie is for people who are typically left out of this genre’s portrayal but know they’re badass enough to be the stars of their own universe.
Naomi McDuffie runs “the world’s third-largest Superman fan site”. The Kryptonian is a fictional character in this universe as he is in ours, until she begins to discover a supernatural world unfolding right under her nose. —The local tattoo artist whose shop she visits every day becomes her mentor; The sleazy used-car dealer who targets military families like the McDuffies turns out to be an enemy. (His character’s last name is a tribute to black comic book writer Dwayne McDuffiewhose prolific career focused on amplifying and diversifying representation in comics.)
Tattoo shop owner Dee (played by Alexander Wraith) is a Zen keeper of knowledge who takes Naomi under his wing, metaphorically. and literally, to guide her on the path to discovering her truth. An alien himself, Dee has beautiful copper metal wings that unfurl at his command. At the end of episode two, Naomi follows her encouragement to jump off a bridge and work out what’s to come. “Does she have her own wings?” Dee’s face lights up at the fact that she doesn’t fall, but the episode ends before the audience can see the result.
The series has been mysterious about defining her powers, and Dee has been clear that Naomi has a long way to go before she can control them. All we know is that she has them because she is an alien who arrived on our Earth in a mysterious UFO collision event. So far, we’ve seen Naomi create energy surges and swirls around her; She used super-sight, super-hearing, and telekinesis skills. She also activated alien artifacts just by being near them.
This investigation and testing of theories is a lot of what the show has been about so far. What’s unique about Noemie it’s that she does it openly: she informed her parents the very evening when they confessed that they had found her in a forest after an extraterrestrial landing; Naomi’s best friend Annabelle (Mary-Charles Jones) – who inexplicably calls Naomi “baby” with every second sentence – knows she’s an alien and thinks that’s awesome. This isn’t your average shy, timid, outcast superhero story. Naomi McDuffie is a talented, multi-tasking, happy young woman with a work-life balance and experience in romantic relationships before discovering she has superpowers.
The series’ opening scene ensures we know Naomi is the life of the party, while also excelling in the AP classes that her peers struggle with. She is selected for prestigious debate team events at school (although her speeches are bizarrely absurd, the crowd responds as if she were killing him on the show), and is popular enough that the student body begs her to run for class president. With her academic power and online influence, Naomi doesn’t need superpowers to change the world. She has a diverse group of friends willing to drop everything and help her out (usually because anything she does is more exciting than schoolwork). Naomi is even on good terms with her gorgeous and charming ex-boyfriend (Daniel Puig, with whom Walfall has outstanding chemistry).
While her kinship with Superman stems from the fact that they’re both adopted, when Naomi learns she may have more in common with him, it weighs on her. She confides in Annabelle that she has always been different, “usually the only black girl in the class”, and for once she just wishes she was normal. Annabelle reminds her that she was never just normal: “You, Naomi McDuffie, you are exceptional.
For now, we don’t know if she can fly, but we do know that Naomi has a whole community in her corner. She’s smart, brave, able to rally a team in her favor and flirt with various people – casually keeping them on the hook with no intention of following through on their feelings for her. She’s also boldly, delightfully queer in a way that gives you hope for today’s teens.
When her mother (Mouzam Makkar) playfully refers to comic book store owner Lourdes (Camila Moreno) as “purple hair. She has a crush on Naomi,” her dad’s (Barry Watson) only response is to note that Naomi already has other love interests: “You’re dating multiple people now,” he casually remarks, sounding impressed. . “They’re all my friends,” she replies with a big smile on her face. “I love them for different reasons.” The show’s makers allow for quizzical looks between the high school kids fighting for her heart when the two teenage girls share flirtatious banter and mischievous looks. There’s a full multi-gender love square on this nerdy alien girl and we just love to see it!
Even before knowing her superpowers, Naomi knew her strengths. There is power in his intelligence, his kindness, his passion and his determination. And it’s a joy to see that even evil aliens won’t stop black girls from thriving in the world. Noemie-verse.