While we have been busy celebrating Milestone Comics 20th anniversary we have completely been blindsided by the anniversary of the Power Rangers. Saban’s hit franchise began in August 28, 1993. While it has not been a mainstream hit since the early 2000′s there is no denying the pop culture impact that the power rangers has had on the world. I’ve often been asked “Do you consider the Power Rangers superheroes?” and I often reply “hell yeah!”. In the 90′s many kids who were not into comic books never even knew black people could be superheroes so Zack was mind-blowing to say the least. For years the franchise has been home to rumors of ‘racism’ and even ‘homophobia’ but throughout it all young black actors, especially the recent crop have been using the franchise to launch their careers into mainstream acting. Join us as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise and count down our favorite powers rangers of African descent who’ve kicked ass and taken names in the name of goodness!
IT’S MORPHIN TIME!
Zack Taylor was a student at the Angel Grove High School who was proficient in martial arts and dancing. He combined the two into his own fighting style known as “Hip hop Kido” which he sometimes taught to the youth of angel grove at Ernie’s ‘Angel Grove Youth Center’. Once Rita escaped her prison and decided to conquer earth him and his friends were chosen as earths first power rangers. Zack was granted the power of the Black Ranger charged with the might of the Mastodon. Over time he was also deemed the unofficial second in command to leader Jason. Whenever Jason was missing or absent he took over leadership of the power rangers. He remained with the team even after Lord Zedd took over the planned destruction of earth from Rita. At that time he was granted the power of the Lion Thunderzord. Zack was portrayed by Walter Emanuel Jones.
TJ was handpicked by Tommy Oliver the most famous of the power rangers as his successor when he and his friends decided to retire from active duty. Upon receiving Tommy’s powers after the power transfer he led a reformed Turbo ranger team. Being successor to Tommy however were hard shoes to fill. Despite being a capable leader he caused the destruction of two megazords, one of which was set to self-destruct per his order in a failed attempt to destroy a foe, the loss of two vehicles, and the loss of the Turbo Ranger powers due to the command center’s destruction and the abduction of Zordon. He later redeemed himself by journeying into space gaining new power as the Blue Space ranger and took part in the final battle against the alliance of evil. I’ve always liked TJ because he serves as a good example of picking yourself up after stumbling and never giving up. T.J was portrayed by actor Selwyn Ward and was the first African-American to be a Red Ranger and Team Leader.
Aisha met the power rangers after saving her teachers child and then was captured by lord Zedd after she and her friends won a ninja competition. Once the original black, red and yellow rangers were chosen to join the peace conference she received the power of the Yellow Ranger and replaced Trini on the team. She used the yellow Lion thunderzord and later the bear and Yellow shogun zord as well as the yellow ninja powers for a time. When reduced to childhood and in search of the zeo crystal she ended up in Africa where she decided that her veterinary skills would be best used their so she entrusted the zeo crystal and her place on the team to Tanya. She was portrayed by Karan Ashley and was the first African-American female to portray a yellow Ranger or power ranger, period.
Jack was an orphan living on the streets with aspirations of becoming more. To save his friends he became the SPD Red Ranger and leader of the SPD B-squad. He had the power to phase through solid objects. Despite reservation from his teammates he grew into a very capable and responsible leader, tempered by his life as an orphan. Despite his skills and notoriety as the leader of the SPD B-Squad he chafed under the life of super heroics and by the end of the show he stepped down as leader of the team so he could help people at the street level. Jack was also the first power ranger with dreadlocks. He was portrayed by Brandon Jay McLaren.
Picked by Aisha as her replacement after she rescued her from a lion Tanya became the second female African-American yellow ranger and third African-American power ranger ever. She is a capable fighter who trained with fellow ranger Adam. She is described as intelligent and athletic. She has a beautiful singing voice and also loves music. After graduating from Angel Grove High she picked Ashley as her successor and was never heard from again. Tanya was portrayed by Nakia Burrise.
Scott is the second son of a military leader, Colonel Mason Trueman. Never the favored child he witnessed his brother die in battle but survives. Scott goes on to become the red R.P.M ranger and avenge his brother. Overtime he manages to prove himself an exceptionally skilled fighter and leader. At first his father is reluctant to recognize his true potential but he goes on to defeat Venjix, save the city and graduate to an even more elite ranger team when his season ended. He was a model soldier who was always ready to put his life on the line for innocents. Scott also managed to win his father’s approval. Scott was the third African-American red ranger. He was portrayed by Eka Darville.
Noah like Billy and Ethan before him is a brilliant man of science. Alongside four other teens he was chosen by Gosei to protect the earth from the Warstar aliens as a power ranger. In battle he uses his keen intellect and excellent martial arts skills to keep earth safe. Noah is also good friends with the more socially adept Jake. Together they make a very potent and capable duo. Noah is portrayed by John Mark Loudermilk and will appear in Power Rangers Super Megaforce the 21st season of Power Rangers.
Joel was a stuntman who was chosen to be the green lightspeed ranger. While he was reluctant at first to accept membership his sense of duty lead him to join. He had a longtime crush on Angela Fairweather throughout his season. He is best known out of costume for his trademark Cowboy hat and is nicknamed the “sky cowboy”. During his final appearance he was seen married to Angella as him and his team helped the time force rangers battle Vypra. He was portrayed by Keith Robinson.
Will is the suave and cocky super spy and infiltrator of his group. Quite the ladies man as well, Will comes with allot of high tech gadgets and toys which aid him in battle. His loner attitude at first caused problems with his teammates until he realized that there were things he just could not do on his own. He eventually warmed up to his teammates and was well-known as one of the best fighters. His deep sense of responsibility leads to his brief departure from the team when he caused an item to fall into the hands of villains but luckily he returned in time to aid his teammates. Will has two superhuman abilities that of enhanced hearing and sight. He was portrayed by Samuell Benta. He is the second African-American Black ranger.
The warm and Open Katie traveled to the past with her friends to save the future. She has inhuman strength and a very warm and inviting personality. She is very protective of her friends and would do anything for them. When her mission ended she returned to the future. She is last seen traveling to the past once more to battle the Mut-Orgs. She was portrayed by actress Deborah Estelle Phillips. Katie is the third African-American Yellow Ranger.
Ethan is the geek of his team, just as Billy was for the original Power Rangers Team. He’s the brains, often playing video games and working the computers. He’s also the second blue ranger to be modeled after the triceratops. As the ‘stereotypical geek’ he has problems with girls though he eventually overcomes this as the series ends. He is noted as eventually creating equipment that will be used by S.P.D. He was portrayed by Kevin Duhaney.
Damon Henderson was a senior mechanic on Terra Venture and the Astro Megaship before Kai Chen took the ship to Mirinoi to save Leo Corbett. In addition to his mechanic skills he is also a trained amateur boxer. He is known as the wise cracking joker of his team. After his teams finale battle he tracked down Trakeena who had survived her final battle with the Galaxy Rangers and helped the Lightspeed Rangers put an end to her. He was portrayed by Reggie Rolle.
The Blue Aquitian Ranger of the team labeled on Earth the “Alien Rangers”. Cestro is the brains of the team in much the same way Billy was for the Mighty Morphin team. Aquitians are an aquatic race thus once on earth they need pure water in order to survive, otherwise they suffer severe and paralyzing dehydration. While using his ranger powers he could summon waterfalls and commanded the blue battle borg. Un-morphed he also had the ability to project energy in the form of a blue liquid-like substance which creates strong gusts of wind and even energy fields. He can also teleport over short distances. Cestro was the first African-American to portray a blue ranger. He was portrayed by actor Karim Prince.
Max is an immature bowler who was granted the powers of the Blue shark megazord after he rescued two women who were being attacked by on org. He is the comedian and troublemaker of his team though he’s also a capable fighter. Max and his friend Cole were rangers for about six months before Red Ranger Cole was recruited. To become a ranger he had to give up his bowling training which caused tension between himself and his mentor. They later reconciled when he had to learn his mentor’s secret technique to defeat an org. At the end of the season he surrenders his powers and goes on a trip around the world with his best friend. He’s the second African-American Blue ranger and the first Ranger with an Afro. Max was portrayed by Phillip Jeanmarie.
Kevin is also an Olympic level swimmer and master swordsman trained from birth by his father. As the blue samurai ranger he has power over the element of water and also serves as the second in command of his team. Often used for comedy relief due his devotion. He has a rivalry with his red ranger leader similar to the earlier rivalry of Tommy and Jason. During a crossover with RPD he met Scott; the two really didn’t get along as a result of clashing personalities. Kevin is the Fifth African-American Blue ranger. He was portrayed by Najee De-Tiege.
The green A-squad ranger was never named and despite being one of the more skilled operatives of SPD he and his friends sided with evil and battled the b-squad. Unfortunately they were defeated and jailed. Like the other members of his team he had a large plasma blaster and was a very skilled fighter. A-squad Green’s ranger is also the only green power ranger in the history of the series to willingly join the villains. Since the A-Squad was made up of recycled old power ranger props his helmet was a repainted black power rangers in space helmet. He was portrayed by D.J. Sena.
Zane and his friends were new students attending Angel Grove high school and it’s newest bullies. They came to the attention of lord Zedd because they were “deliciously evil”. After they tangled with the original mighty Morphin Power Rangers Zedd captured them and using the stolen power of the Green Ranger made them into his “dark rangers”. There time as evil rangers was short-lived however as the green energy was taken back by Tommy and they were returned to Angel Grove. After the incident Zane and his friends became friends with the rangers.
There you have it!
Our favorite African-American Power Rangers
World of Black Heroes!
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