How do you raise a superhero?
I won’t bother calling this blog post a review, because I have nothing but praises for Raising Dion: from the amazing writing of the graphic novel and script (thank you, Dennis Liu!), to the performances of both children and adults, to everything that went on behind the scenes to make this TV show such an awe-inspiring and self-reflective experience.
I’ve been up all night. I can’t sleep because I’m thinking of the kids I’ll meet in a few hours, and that upcoming event made me think of all the topics, related to children and raising them, explored in Raising Dion. Without giving too much away and just to quote a few:
– struggling to make friends (at all ages)
– To fit in or not to fit in?
– How do you define friendship? (At all ages)
– How to help a child deal with loss/grief?
– Keeping one’s memory alive…
There is also the richness of the backstories, i.e. the going up against parental authority and its consequences, the pursuit of one’s dream and its cost, the tough conversations to be had… So many times the words of Nicole Warren (aka Dion’s mom, beautifully portrayed by Alisha Wainwright), transcend the screen to resonate with our realities, as in their conversation about boundaries.
It is my opinion that more diversity is (still) needed on both the big and small screens. Raising Dion surprised me by its fresh and real tone, as well as its seemingly effortless, yet original treatment of the story. It’s because of shows like this one that I’m happy to be a Netflix subscriber. It’s easy to get attached to Ja’Siah Young’s Dion ; Alisha Wainwright makes you forget that you’re watching a fiction; Jason Ritter’s convincing awkwardness provides understated comedic moments. Does Michael B Jordan need an introduction? I was excited to read that his investment in the show went beyond acting, as he is also listed as an executive producer.
Can we talk about Sammi Haney? She slayed, rocked and stole my heart from the moment she appeared on screen. I couldn’t believe she had no acting experience, she’s a natural. I’m following her on Twitter and IMDb, and as with the aforementioned actors, I hope to see her sassy, lively and charismatic self in many more movies and TV Shows. She plays Dion’s best friend, and is in a wheel chair. In real life Sammi Haney helps raise awareness about biases toward disabilities, through her t-shirt designs.
So… How do you raise a superhero? The underlying truth in this question is that regardless of the challenges that life and the world throw at them, children have superpowers of their own. Especially the marginalized ones.
Thank you, Raising Dion and everyone who brought this story to life—including those not credited on IMDb, for a sweet, exciting and moving viewing experience.
Check out “Raising Dion” on Netflix.
PS: At the time of the writing of this post, fans still anxiously await news regarding a season 2 of the show. Here’s hoping our wish is granted.