Thank you for the pride you have instilled in me through your remarkable abilities in storytelling. For creating the complete and perfectly well-rounded world of Steven Universe. Addressing every aspect of relationships in the modern world, romantic, friendship, partner, work, family, how gems (the actual stones) relate and even more than I could imagine.
First, thank you for the rebel gems. The brave unconventional band of gems who rebelled against their home world for the mistreatment of their people and to save planet earth. Thank you for making this the most adult children’s show on TV. Teaching children right off the bat to fight for their individuality, for what they believe in, for the ability to enjoy life – thank you. Secondly, for Steven. Half gem, half human – trying to figure out where he belongs. Watching Steven and those around him learn every step of the way what it means to be mixed, and how his powers manifest is a beacon of light for many people in this world.
For me, being Afro Latinx – not being able to relate entirely with what is considered Panamanian to others, not having the pleasure of knowing my “homeworld” intimately, at the same time, not fitting into the stereotype of “black culture,” I am continuously exploring how my powers manifest. Steven’s journey is a revelation and I cry to know some little girl like me is out there learning how to navigate this world from your creation.
Thirdly, thank you for fusion, for the personification of true connection; a connection with the rhythm of another’s frequency so deeply that love and passion allow them to physically fuse. What else is there to say, love is so powerful that two even three can actually become one. Yes, everything you think I am insinuating is spot on. Fusion is Garnet, and thank you for Garnet. There are no words I can write to give just praise better than my girl Izetta Nicole. Watch this video and be taken to church!
Thank you for your music and using that vessel to talk about emotional health and at the same time making me practice it every episode. Tears are nothing to feel weak about and emotions are not to be ignored nor feel like we must get through them without support. It’s a beautiful thing to know how complicated we as human beings can be and to embrace our complexities.
Lastly, thank you for your apology. When controversial images were found in the publication of never before seen sketches of Steven Universe, you took it to the chest. Never threw anyone under the bus, never said – “I am sorry you feel offended”, never tried to make excuses, and for this, I am grateful. Your apology never made me feel wrong for feeling offended, didn’t ask to be educated or wonder why everyone was upset. Even though you didn’t draw the sketches, nor imagine the character, and even though it never made it to the small screen, wholeheartedly you understood the ramifications and the clear offensive nature of the imagery and content.
You took responsibility for the world you created in which an idea like that made it past your purview. You apologized for not being thorough in your review of the materials, not using your knowledge and ability to engage in a teachable moment for someone else at the much needed time. This apology made me love you even more. I personally experienced the offense and now feel confident in your abilities as a change maker to be diligent in the fight for inclusive narratives in media and storytelling.
I may be gassing you up a bit, and some reading may feel I am – “laying it on thick”, but when I watch Steven Universe I tear up knowing that this is the story being shown to youth in the most formative years of their lives. A formidable foundation is laid for relating to one another in a world of many different beings and ways of life. They get to see what a relationship truly is, and the fluidity of it all, gender, attraction, the fragility, the strength, and uncertainty. There are no dictated rules, it is not perfect or about fitting in, it is a conversation. it is future vision – being able to see all the possibilities, the good and the bad and still willing to work toward being whole and being an individual. It deserves a fight, it deserves tears of sadness and joy.
I believe in the power of this world, a world that teaches us about love and loss, discovery and failure, hurt and laughter. It shows us all reality – in turn, raising a generation undeniably well equipped for what lies ahead. Thank you to you, and all the creative and beautiful minds that fused to make Steven Universe.