GEN Z: War on redheads
A few days ago, it was announced that Quintessa Swindell joined the new “Black Adam” movie cast. The character Quintessa is set to play is named Maxine Hunke, also known as Cyclone. Cyclone is a junior member of the Justice Society with the power to manipulate wind and sound. It was previously announced that Aldis Hodge had been cast as Hawkman, while Noah Centineo will play Atom Smasher. Both characters are members of DC’s Justice Society. Sarah Shahi has also been cast as Adrianna Tomaz.
The comic character of Cyclone was drawn up to be a white redhead initially. When Dwayne Johnson announced the casting of Quintessa, who just happens to be a person of color and non-binary, Twitter and social media cheered.
Redheads in the past were killed under the pretense that they are witches. It is reported that many Christians in the 16th to the 18th centuries believed redheads were affiliated with the devil and satanic practices. Because of this, red hair was a marker of witchcraft and magical abilities, and during witch hunts, red-haired people were often suspected and found guilty by witch hunters.
According to the Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca, there is even “evidence that some ancient pagan sorcerers dyed their hair red for certain rituals.”
To be associated with magic or supernatural power was not always a favorable position to find yourself in.
Even today, in some cultures, particularly in Africa, where voodoo and magic are still central to their belief systems, redheads are still thought to be witches. Probably due to our rarity in those regions.
Chloe Berg is a Leavenworth native and student at Benedictine College.