Superheroes have been known to be a part of any young boy’s childhood. With executive producer Michael B. Jordan, Netflix has created a new series we explore the concept of when a young black boy gets superpowers and how the family manages it in “Raising Dion.”
“If you want to watch a show with your family that has a young black boy in the center with a single mom trying to guide him through life, you should check out ‘Raising Dion,’” said Alisha Wainwright, star of the new series, which was released Oct. 4.
“Raising Dion” tells the story of a young widowed mother named Nicole, played by Wainwright, trying to raise—and protect—her seven-year-old son Dion, whom she has discovered has developed superpowers.
The story follows the day to day life of raising her super-powered son while trying to discover the mystery behind how he acquired his powers.
“The show is funny and moving with great special effects,” said Jason Writer, who stars alongside Wainwright as Pat. “There’s also a big mystery and people should tune it quickly before it gets spoiled on the internet.”
The series is directed by Carol Barbee and based on the comic book created by Dennis Liu. The nine-episode show stars Wainwright, Ritter, Ja’Siah Young as the titular Dion and Michael B. Jordan, who also executive produced the series.
While the series dabbles with the fiction of a young black boy with superpowers, it also juxtaposes Dion’s superpowers with the real-life problems that young black boys often face today.
In episode three, for example, Dion encounters a small problem with one of his classmates, who is white. Before kids could crowd around them and escalate the scene the principle arrives and makes everyone scatter.
When the teacher asked who started the problem, he automatically assumed it was Dion before hearing the explanation. The teacher was ready to punish Dion.
Later in that episode, Nicole had to explain to Dion that he experienced a form of racism.
“The producers first approached Ja’Siah’s mother to see if they ever had a conversation about some of the story elements they were going to approach him with. These are conversations that are real in our community,” Wainwright said. “The way I think Netflix approached it was sensitive because he is a seven-year-old boy. Instead of telling him what to think, Nicole asked Dion what he thinks and he expressed that he was hurt by his teacher’s actions. It’s a harsh reality to share with a kid that small but its a real reality.”
“Raising Dion” originally gained popularity as a short that was released in 2015. It was directed by Liu and it circulated the internet until it got the attention of Jordan and Netflix.
“There have already been years of buzz around Dennis Liu’s project,” Ritter said. “I heard about it, then (Jordan) got involved. I had a conversation with (Barbee) about the show and where it was going and I was sold.”
According to Wainwright, “Raising Dion” is shaping out to be the next family superhero show worth streaming.
“Little black boys are superheroes. They are special and I think that what makes you different or unique to where people don’t understand is so powerful,” Wainwright said. “I feel like Dion is a role model to little kids to how to be yourself.”