Despite its general cheesiness, #MightyMorphinPowerRangers was a ground-breaking children's TV show, teaching children about diversity and equality, in part through its diverse group of five teenagers with attitude. Unfortunately, even with the effort to spread a positive message for its audience, the series managed to be embroiled in controversy.
For anyone who isn't aware of what happened, when the show began, people pointed out that Zack Taylor (Walter Jones), an African-American character, was the Black Ranger, and Trini Tang (Thuy Trang), an Asian character, was the Yellow Ranger—I'm going to assume I don't need to point out the racial implications you could read from that. Fans were outraged, calling the choice of colors as blatant racist act by the show's creators, and the topic's been the subject of debate for many years since. Now, one of the original Power Rangers has stepped in to speak her mind about it.
The Pink Ranger Addresses The Issue
#AmyJoJohnson, who played Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, attended the 3rd Annual Bentonville Festival to promote her directorial debut, The Space Between. Naturally, Power Rangers came up during the panel, and the actress was asked about the controversy above. She was quite honest about her answer, stating the show's diversity was a bit overt, but isn't aware whether the color assignment was intentional or unintentional.
“It was diverse, but too on the nose. I don’t know if they did that on purpose or if that was a mistake. I don’t know the logic behind it but I think they definitely learned their lesson.”
The actress was then asked whether the cast knew about the issue. She revealed they were. In fact, it was a running joke on set:
“Of course! Oh my god, it was a joke. For sure, we would have jokes about that and be like, this is ridiculous.”
But just like Johnson said, she has no idea whether or not it was intentional. Seeing how this has gone unresolved for so long, it's worth asking a few questions.
Was It Actually Done On Purpose?
The answer: Probably not. Back in 2014, Walter Jones gave an interview to Fusion. In it, he addressed the controversy, explaining how the color-assignment came to be. Turns out, Jones was the Black Ranger since the show's early stages, but it was a different story for the Yellow Ranger.
Initially, a Hispanic-American actress named Audri Dubois was cast in the role. Unfortunately, she was let go after asking for what the producers deemed too much money. Without their original Yellow Ranger, a replacement was needed immediately, and so Thuy Trang was cast. That's when the backlash occurred, according to Jones:
"Nobody really talked about me playing the Black Ranger at first. But after Trang was hired everyone was like 'Wait a minute! The Yellow Ranger is Asian and you're the Black Ranger and you're a Black guy.' They were going to replace Audri Dubois with another girl either way, but she just happened to be Asian."
There you have it, it looks like the color choices for the characters' superhero outfits were an unfortunate coincidence. Even after all these years of the controversy being around, it's interesting to see how the people who actually worked on #PowerRangers felt about it.
What did you think about Amy Jo Johnson's opinion regarding the show's controversy? Let me know in the comments!