Who would have guessed that the thing that would linger from WandaVision would be a swaggalicious Vision being embraced by Black viewers?
Vision’s cool stance and Black turtleneck in the WandaVision season finale instantly connected with Black viewers, who renamed Vision “Vishawn.” The meme became so iconic that it was one of Twitter’s trending topics Mar. 6. Fans even pulled Wanda in on the joke, photoshopping braids on her head and renaming her “LaWanda.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Black Marvel fans have recreated the franchise in their own image. We have @alamanecer to thank for “Chris Jamal Evans” and “Captain Acrylica,” two sets of memes based on Black people’s love for resident “good white guy,” “woke king,” and Regina King’s usher at the Oscars, Chris Evans. There’s also a slew of other memes with Marvel actors wearing acrylics or box braids, such as one featuring Michael B. Jordan.
A big question some might have might be why do Black fans do this. As a Black person, I’ll hazard a guess. Aside from it being funny, our ability to transform non-Black characters into characters we can relate to stems back to how Black Americans–and other non-white Americans–have to code-switch and identify with white entertainment constantly. While there are Black characters in the MCU, including within WandaVision itself, the story is still centered around white or white-presenting characters.
It’s not necessary for Black viewers to pretend Vision is Black in order for them to be engaged in the storyline. But, Marvel is generally a franchise that doesn’t have culturally-specific markers for Black viewers, despite Black Panther existing. When any semblance of otherness is presented, such as Vision exuding swag and drip in a well-fitting turtleneck, it makes sense that creative-minded Black viewers would pounce on it and turn it into a cultural moment.
What do you think about Vishawn? Give your opinions in the comments section below!