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Black Creators Embrace the World of Harry Potter, In the Face of Author’s Exclusivity

A Hogwarts-stamped letter accompanying a magic wand. Photo by Tuyen Vo on Unsplash.

Harry Potter, both the book series and movie octology, has been a childhood staple for many younger Millennials, and an enticing piece of nostalgia for GenZers. While most of us read and fell in love with the book long before the racist comments of the author, J.K. Rowling, came to light, Black Tiktok creators are now re-imagining Hogwarts. 

As Black History Month came to a close, Black Tiktok turned Hogwarts School into Hogwarts Agricultural and Magical University (HAMU) – a Harry Potter-influenced HBCU – and play on existing HBCU, Florida Agricultural, and Mechanical University (FAMU). Black Tiktokers have embraced the magic and whimsy associated with this world and made a string of videos that encapsulate the spirit of HBCUs from the classroom down to Greek Life.

Born of the controversy surrounding the expansion of the video game realm, Potterheads, on-lookers, and even Muggles were on the fence about welcoming the game “Hogwarts Legacy” amidst recent transphobic and racist commentary from Rowling. 

As released in Feb. 2023, the video game simulates an immersive action experience allowing players to experience Hogwarts as if they were in the book. Since then, it’s gone on to be one of the most played single-player games, according to the Hogwarts Legacy official Twitter account. 

But in the true fashion of Black reality, Black creators turned a once semi-sullied image of Harry Potter into something fun and creative for our own enjoyment. Rowling’s continued need to make insensitive comments has led to one of the most profound instances of separating the artist from the art. She may have created the Ravenclaws and Slytherins but could’ve never come up with Theta Nu Slyherin and Mu Gamma Ravenclaw, as inspired by the Divine Nine. 

Jualea Smith, 27, also known as @leiileiijaee_203 on Tiktok, participated in the trend and spoke to 101 Magazine about how indicative it is of Black people coming together. She posted a TikTok showing her followers the staff section of the HAMU official website. “I came across HAMU on my FYP on Tiktok and I instantly loved it! I love us,” Smith said.

“If you read the books and even watch the films you can tell that they [Black people] weren’t included or even intended on being included as characters,” Smith explained. “But I think HAMU does a great job of striking back on that and giving us the true inclusivity we deserve.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen fans re-imagine the diversity-lacking series. In 2018, Black Twitter discussed at length what the movies would be like with an all-Black cast and diverse plot points. And even before that in 2015, Tumblr fan art partook in the re-designing of white characters in the series as Black, multiracial, or even Latinx.

Black creativity is unmatched and HAMU is no exception. Check out the official website complete with an acceptance letter, homecoming details, and descriptions of the Houses here.

Alana Matthew

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