In the latest example of how identity politics only serves to erase history and denigrate true accomplishments, Kotaku writer Ian Walker has falsely claimed that Capcom’s upcoming Street Fighter 6 will feature the “series’ first playable black woman” – despite the fact that the true first representative of that demographic was fully established 25 years earlier.
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On June 2, as part of the June 2022 State of Play event on PlayStation, Capcom revealed their latest trailer for Street Fighter 6, the cautiously appropriate next entry in their genre-defining fighting game series.
Unfortunately for Capcom, right after the trailer premiere, the game is apparent complete start list online leak.
As well as giving fans their first look at new appearances from the show’s returning cast – Ryu, Ken, Zangief, Dhalsim, E. Honda, Blanka, Guile, Chun-Li, Cammy, Dee Jay, Rashid, Juri, Ed , and Akuma – these alleged leaks also revealed the upcoming debuts of six new World Warriors.
Aside from Luke and Jamie, the drunken fist master who debuted in the previously revealed State of Play trailer, these new challengers include Italian MMA brawler Marisa, French judo fighter Mamon, heavyweight fighter arms Mexican Lilly, mysterious Russian gentleman JP, American apparently- dude-inspired ninja Kimberly, and Chinese femme fatale AKI
Reporting these leaks for Kotaku, Walker made his patently false claim on June 3, writing that the aforementioned Kimberly “will be the series’ first playable black woman.”
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However, as noted above, Street Fighter’s first playable black woman debuted 25 years ago.
Hailing from Kenya, the capoeira-using Princess Elena made fighting game history in 1997, appearing on the main roster in Street Fighter III: Next Generation.
Moreover, Kimberly isn’t even the second playable black woman to appear in the series, as the previous title, Street Fighter V, saw the introduction of Menat, a Soul Power student DLC fighter from Egypt.
Awash in a wave of pushback over his mistake, Walker attempted to move the goalposts, writing on June 4 in a series of now-deleted tweets, “You’re celebrating SF6, including the franchise’s first playable black woman and suddenly everyone wants to question your street cred bc ‘you forgot elena.’ I have been playing fighting games for almost 30 years Elena is Kenyan Kimberly is African American there is a difference.
“The same thing happened every time black women used to ask to be represented in overwatch before sojourn,” he continued. “Symmetra is Indian. Pharah is Egyptian. they do not reflect the unique and distinct culture of the African Diaspora in America, which rarely receives attention in games.
“I expect that I don’t explain this well enough (and frankly, it’s not really my place to act as an expert on the subject) so please read this blog,” wrote he added, linking to a Kotaku article (which appears to be missing a header image, hence its odd empty square preview appearance) in which a 23-year-old black woman challenged Overwatch’s absence of a female character who specifically represented her own set of ill-defined “experiential” criteria.
“And if you still don’t care,” Walker finally concluded, “please reconsider giving me shit and just celebrate that the street fighter continues to branch out more and more with each game” .
What do you think of Walker’s claim and subsequent response to criticism? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments below!
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