America’s favorite superhero, Captain America, is the subject of a new documentary. If you were envisioning the tall, muscular frame of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Chris Evans taking you behind the scenes of a Hollywood studios set, however, you’re wrong. This Captain America is way, way cooler.
His name is Vishavjit Singh and his slogan is, “Let’s kick some intolerant ass!” Singh, who is Sikh, wears a turban. Born in D.C., Singh is every bit as American as someone who looks like Chris Evans — but people assume he’s not. “It’s interesting that no one presumes that I am an American based purely on my looks,” Singh told ANIMAL. “Americans and tourists alike.”
Singh’s superhero fills a need that he himself outlined in 2012. After a massacre at a Milkwaukee Sikh temple left six people dead, Singh responded by saying America needs superheroes who fight hate crimes. Along the way, he’s been challenging stereotypes of what it means to be American.
In Red, White and Beard, an 11-minute video released on Wednesday, Singh shares the full results of his social experiment: A man with a pigeon on his shoulder calls him “odd,” tourists from Alabama guesses he’s “from Asia,” but ultimately they all dig it. “You could see people’s response [to me] was different,” he says in a voice-over. “But they saw me in real life putting it on and they said, ‘He’s cool. he’s one of us.”
“It is very easy to stereotype groups/communities you do not know,” he told ANIMAL. “My hope is to drop some new images into peoples’ heads, get them to imagine and think outside the box. Perhaps start a new conversation in their own heads or with others.”
As for whether you’ll see the turbaned Captain America in NYC anytime soon, Singh says, “No new Captain America walkabout planned as of yet but have a feeling there are more to come.”