Shadow: That's a lotta Jesus.
Mr. Wednesday: There's a lotta need for Jesus, so there's a lotta Jesus.
In simplest terms, this trope is showing a deity with a standard appearance in a form people don't expect to see it in.
People expect deities to look a certain way. They expect the Hindu Goddess Kali to be an Indian woman. They expect the Norse God Thor to be a red-bearded Viking man (or blond and clean shaven). But what if a work shows Kali as a white man and Thor as a tiny Chinese woman? Well, that would be this trope.
A common subversion on the "old white guy with a beard" take on the Abrahamic God is for God to take on the appearance of a minority group instead, usually either black or female (or both). Sometimes, this stretches across to other religious figures, such as the Devil or angels. This could manifest as a subtle and humorous take on discrimination, or if done badly might come across as the Magical Negro trope on steroids. Of course, it could also be nothing more than the creator doing something different.
Not to be confused with Ethnic God, which are gods who are tied to a specific locale or people.
- Combining this trope and Mukokuseki means that Shinto gods in Anime can look completely un-Japanese. Or gods from another religions/mythologies that don't correspond with the appearance of people from which said religions/mythologies appear. For example, the incarnation of Athena in Saint Seiya is a Japanese girl.
- In Noragami, the god of warriors Bishamon (from East Asian Buddhism mythology) takes the form of a blonde white woman.
- The comic Crimson features an appearance by God as a mute little girl who sells flowers.
- Inverted in Lucifer somewhat in that God, after cycling through a dozen other forms, picks a portly, white, English gentleman. And is later replaced by a twelve-year-old girl.
- In The Sandman (1989), Death is a Perky Goth girl rather than being The Grim Reaper.
- God has been portrayed as an elderly woman in earlier Spawn comics. And a fiery woman, at some point. And as a small black boy - with Satan as his sister. In Spawn God isn't really God God. Satan is his sibling as created by the "real" God God. They did their good vs evil schtick until the "real" God God got sick of it and made them little kids to give them "an appreciation for humanity". Also, the "real" God God is occasionally portrayed and often referenced as female. And was also Jesus. God God is called MoM (female) but it stands for Man of Miracles (male).
- The Thor: The Mighty Avenger series portrayed the Norse god Heimdall as a black man. This was justified by giving Heimdall Voluntary Shapeshifting who simply prefers to take on the form of a black guy. Perhaps as a nod to the controversy around Idris Elba playing Heimdall in the MCU (see below), the Marvel Universe version of the legendary Norse hero Sigurd is a young black man. Subverted with Hogun the Grim, one of the Warriors Three. While Hogun is quite obviously Asian (and from the clothing appears to be Mongolian), he is specifically not an Aesir like Thor and the other residents of Asgard. His true homeland has not been named in the comics (it was conquered by a tyrant before he joined Asgard) but was named as Vanaheim in the MCU.
- In Valérian the Holy Trinity manifests as an obese private detective straight from early 20th century Noir, a stoned hippie with stigmata, and a broken one-armed bandit. The characters who come from the 22nd-century Galaxity don't see anything strange about this, while the 20th-century Christian character sees them as charlatans or usurpers. Just how real a deal they are is never clarified, but the Father claims to remember Moses fondly.
- In New Mutants, Native American Dani Moonstar became a Valkyrie.
- Played with in the Italian satirical comic book Jenus: Jesus is represented as a white man (albeit short and with brown hair), but the fact he's supposed to be middle-eastern gets mercilessly and unsubtly lampshaded. Also, God himself is represented as the Italian-American Ronnie James Dio (as in God came on Earth in 1942 with the identity of Ronnie James Dio, sang a lot of music, and in 2010 he got pissed enough at the Church that he returned to Heaven). Justified as he has Voluntary Shapeshifting that could have any form he wanted (and in fact the first time we saw him he was first a giant who suddenly became a flower in a vase), and Ronnie James Dio is just his favoured form.
- Similar to Jenus, the Italian satirical comic (see a pattern) Suore Ninja had the Virgin Mary appear as what many characters describe a beautiful Swedish woman before finding out who she is and pointing out she should look middle-eastern. Justified as it's actually an impersonator, a male real estate agent impersonating Mary to increase the value of the lands near Medjugore.
- There is an old issue of a comic book, likely printed in the '70s, where an astronaut goes on a mission to the end of the universe. When he returns he is immediately mobbed by the press who ask him if he met God. He says "first, she's black."
- In Final Crisis, the New Gods of Apokolips take on new forms, with Glorious Godfrey posing as a black preacher, Desaad taking the form of Mary Marvel, and Granny Goodness posing as one of the Alpha Lanterns.
- Discussed in Mage, when Kirby is bemused by Coyote, a Native American culture-hero, being African-American in this incarnation. Kevin says that it seems to be pretty random and points out that he (the modern incarnation of King Arthur) isn't British and Kirby (the modern incarnation of Heracles) isn't Greek.
- The Wicked + The Divine: Amaterasu, the Japanese goddess of the sun, is portrayed as a white girl. Naturally, Cassandra, who is of Japanese descent, has a huge problem with this. She repeatedly points out how offensive it is for a white girl to represent the persona of a Japanese goddess. The comic also shows that despite Cassandra's repeated protests, Ammy doesn't listen and her failure to be sensitive to another goddess, Sekhmet's anger, resulted in Ammy's death.
- Wonder Woman:
- Wonder Woman (1987): Demeter starts out as white as her siblings with brown hair, which is already a change from mythology where she's described as having golden blonde hair, and then later artists started depicting her as black without explanation. However, given as she's a manifestation of a Greek deity with stable power—unlike Zeus by this point—her appearance is entirely up to her.
- Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Aphrodite in the DC comics had previously always stuck to the Western expected depiction as a blonde white lady, this version has brown eyes & hair and a light olive complexion which becomes amusing when later writers chose to alter this version of Aphrodite's family tree to go with her less popular mythological parentage of Zeus, the blue-eyed (formerly) blonde guy.
- Invoked in Marville: when Al and Mickey travel to the beginning of time and meet a man "who may or may not be God", he first appears with different forms based on how they imagine him to be, with Mickey seeing him as the stereotypical Grandpa God archetype, while Al sees him as a superhero. They end up quickly squabbling over the "true" appearance of God, only for said man to intervene by turning himself into an unassuming young black man in a suit, requesting they call him "Jack". He evidently doesn't wish for them to approach him as their lofty ideal of "God" and instead humbly requests they simply talk to him like a nondescript friend.
- Dogma: God appears as a slightly spacey woman played by Alanis Morissette toward the end of the movie. In a twist, He/She/It takes the form of a white-haired man with a beard - albeit poor and homeless - when (S)he visits Earth at the beginning of the movie. It is implied that Alanis appears because God's physical form is only a convenience for mortals, and She's what the ardently feminist protagonist needs God to look like. Presumably the old white guy- who was not witnessed by much of anyone but the camera (and some demons) - was simply habit. Rufus (the thirteenth disciple, and Chris Rock) mentions Jesus was black, which to an audience accustomed to a white Jesus may be another example of the same thing. Historical evidence suggests that Jesus had darker skin than what is usually depicted in Western artwork, but the perception remains that he looked fairly European.
- In Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty, God is Morgan Freeman, although it may be more accurate to say Morgan Freeman is God. But with that voice, who would mind?
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Asgardian Heimdall is played by the black Idris Elba. The Norse god upon which he is based was called "the whitest of the gods."note This caused a minor controversy, though most agree Elba's performance to be worth it.
- In Bedazzled (2000), the Devil is played by Liz Hurley and God is a black man.
- God is Whoopi Goldberg in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.
- The Legend of Bagger Vance is apparently a retelling of the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, with R. Junnah as Prince Arjuna and Bagger Vance as Vishnu/Krishna (who incarnated in the epic as Arjuna's charioteer).
- Spoofed and played for laughs in the third Major League movie. When the team's manager is hit with a line drive, he sees a blurry figure as he's coming to. He first guesses it be God, then Moses before fully coming to and recognizing it as Serrano, the team's Big Guy who was introduced as a Scary Black Man in the first movie before subverting that all to hell. Later in the scene, Serrano teases the manager about the terror on his face when the manager realized that God was black. The manager immediately quips "Yeah, I always thought she was white."
- This one is Older Than They Think: God was played by black actor Rex Ingram in 1936's The Green Pastures.
- The first Oh, God! film had George Burns's God take multiple forms, including a black woman and a Hispanic busboy. Burns' own portrayal of God as a little old man could rate as a mild example, as Grandpa God is usually depicted as tall and strong-looking.
- A short film from the 1970s, Parable, reimagined first-century A.D. Palestine as a traveling circus and cast a whiteface clown as Jesus Christ and the other circus performers and carnies as his disciples. The Jesus-clown never spoke or even made a sound (except at the climax, when he screams while being crucified on a flying trapeze) and is completely white: white powdered face, white skullcap, white leggings, and a short white toga. The toga was obviously supposed to evoke marble statues of Christ, but instead it makes the clown look literally like a statue, especially when he's viewed from a distance. He brings up the rear of the circus parade riding on a donkey, so we get the symbolism right off the bat. Of course, Jesus is also a clown (albeit a definitely human one) in the film version of Godspell.
- Parodied in 21 Jump Street: the undercover police HQ is located in a church in Koreatown featuring a statue of Jesus that looks Korean. One of the main characters briefly prays to "Korean Jesus." In the sequel, since they've relocated to a Vietnamese church Jesus is now "Vietnamese Jesus".
- The Brazilian miniseries-turned movie O Auto da Compadecida (aka "A Dog's Will") does have a black Jesus, although it's established that this appearance is simply the form he chose to assume, to play on the prejudices of protagonist João Grilo and the other town residents that are judged with him. ("...I thought you were very less burnt...")
- The Adjustment Bureau originally cast and shot scenes with Shohreh Aghdashloo as The Chairman, portraying god as a motherly figure, whereas the case workers (angels) of the Adjustment Bureau are all men of various races. However, the role was left out of the final film to leave the Chairman's identity deliberately vague.
- In Life Blood, God appears as a Lipstick Lesbian wearing a diaphanous wrap and nothing else.
- In The Shack, God - or rather, "Papa" - appears as a black woman (Octavia Spencer) and also as a Native American man (Graham Greene). It's explained that these are forms the protagonist needs to see at different times. Jesus, meanwhile, is an Israeli man (Aviv Alush).
- Blood of the Tribades: In-Universe, the priests of Bathor refer to him as male repeatedly. However, the female vampires do the opposite. The latter are right; she's a woman.
- I Am Not an Easy Man: In the alternate world, God is always "She", in keeping with the female-dominated society. Christianity also has Mary as next in importance to God, with Islam having a female prophet.
- American Gods
- Mr. Ibis (Thoth) and his fellow Ancient Egyptian deities who live in Cairo, Illinois. Ibis notes that while for a long time, he and his family were just taken for foreign visitors, from the 1800s onward, people in the town assumed their Ambiguously Brown features meant they were black Americans, and thus from then onward, they've lived with/associated with that community in Cairo.
- Shadow is implied to have a black mother, making him multiracial. Word of God says he looks like The Rock. He is actually the incarnation of Baldr, described as pure white in Poetic Edda/Prose Edda.
- In the Betsy the Vampire Queen series, Satan usually appears resembling actress Lena Olin, which is more of a Mythology Gag: Satan possessed Betsy's stepmother (then, her father's mistress) on a lark and ended up pregnant. "She" appears to Laura and Betsy in this form to remind them of their relationship.
- In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality, in which ordinary human beings step into godlike roles at different times, the incarnation of Good (a.k.a. God) has been the Christian idea of the old white guy for quite some time. Eventually, he is replaced by a young woman of Indian and Caucasian descent. The incarnations of Fate and Nature are traditionally female and use the Greek names (Nature is Gaea, Fate is the trinity of Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos), but one Atropos is actually a disguised Gypsy man, and his predecessor was an African-American woman. The current Clotho is an Asian woman. And an incarnation of War (a.k.a. Mars) is a devout Hindu who doesn't believe in the role he's forced to fill.
- N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy has an In-Universe example: the light-skinned Arameri dynasty envision their Patron God Bright Itempas, God of Light and Order, as looking like them, and are surprised to learn that his preferred human form is a black man with hair of white light.
- The Shack. In addition to a black female God, they have an Asian hippie as the Holy Spirit.
- Someone in Steve Barry's The Third Secret observes that the Virgin Mary who appears in visitations doesn't look much like her real-life self would have.
- In Ray Bradbury's "The Fire Balloons", a Catholic priest on Mars reminds his colleagues that Jesus looks different in every country where he is worshipped.
- In Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, the Norse god Tyr is described having dark skin.
- On All in the Family, Archie and Henry Jefferson get into an argument over the race of both Jesus and God, Henry claiming that they are both black. It comes up again in the episode "Archie In the Cellar" when Archie accidentally locks himself in the basement, gets drunk, and becomes convinced he's dying and that the furnace man trying to rescue him is God coming to take him to heaven. Then "God" turns out to be a black guy, causing a horrified Archie to fall to his knees begging forgiveness for everything he's ever said about blacks.
Archie: Forgive me, Lord, the Jeffersons was right!
- In an American Gods (2017) episode, Mr. Wednesday offhandedly mentions to Shadow that gods come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (and they can all co-exist), to suit the beliefs and values of the various people groups who worship them. He makes an example with Jesus, as seen on the page quote. And sure enough, we see a lot of the aforementioned variants of Jesus throughout the series, mostly in the first season finale where they attend an Easter party.
- One episode of Blossom featured God as Father Guido Sarducci.
- On the original British version of Cracker, the lead character is present during a natural childbirth. As the delivering mother is (obviously) in pain, he leans in and asks "Still think God is a woman?" (Of course, he is an archetypal Jerkass...)
- On Dave's World, Shel's young daughter goes as God for Halloween explaining that He is in fact, like her, a black woman.
- The Good Place: Gen, the series' equivalent to God, is a black woman played by Maya Rudolph. Lampshaded in one episode in which she goes to Earth and is surprised to learn that she has a race at all.
Gen: I guess I'm black? And they do not like black ladies down there!
- In Good Times, JJ paints an otherwise traditional-style image of Jesus, which freaks out devout Christian Florida because A) he's black, B) he looks like Ned The Wino, and C) The Evans get a streak of good luck immediately upon JJ hanging up the painting.
- Joan of Arcadia: God takes lots of different forms, possibly as a deliberate attempt to subvert both "old white man God" and "female/black/child/whatever God OMG!" Basically, whenever Joan is alone, God takes control of a person nearby (or, it's implied, was that person the entire time) and uses that person to speak to her, ranging from a boy she has a crush on to a bad boy goth kid, to her lunch lady. Entirely appropriate for a show based on the song, "(What If God Was) One of Us". A parody by either MAD or Cracked showed God taking the form of a (female) stripper who gives lap dances, much to the Joan character's disgust. When called out on this, God fires back with "I could have disguised myself as a lawyer, but that would have been too sleazy."
- The Kids in the Hall: Played for comedy in a sketch in which Scott Thompson's character sees a vision of a dead friend, who says he's in Heaven. Thompson asks "And how is God? That big, black lesbian in the sky?"
- Lucifer: The angels consider themselves siblings and literal children of God, and they appear as a variety of different races. Leading to a lot of confused stares when the white Lucifer and black Amenadiel introduce themselves as brothers to mortals who don't believe Lucifer's outlandish claim to be the Devil. When God finally appears he's black.
- Inverted in a MADtv (1995) skit in which Jesus appears as the standard "white hippie" despite showing up in a black church. The skit doesn't even lampshade this, which arguably makes it funnier.
- Pushing Daisies: The temporarily-revived corpse of the episode sees Emerson and inquires if he's God.
- The Sarah Silverman Program: Black God.
Sarah: Are you God's black friend?
- Teen Angel: Rod — semi-deity and cousin of the real God — was the floating head of Ron Glass. In one episode he also played the Devil's cousin Neville.
- In TV Funhouse, most animals are Christian, and every church depicts Jesus as a member of the congregation's species.
- Spoofed in Wonder Showzen. God is a black man, and he blew up the Earth because he didn't like the way "You honky-ass crackers are keeping the black man down." Wonder Showzen being what it is, he gets defeated in Rock–Paper–Scissors and kills himself.
- Small Wonder had an episode in which Joan and Vicki were competing against Ted and Jamie on a camping trip, with everything going swell for the mother and daughter and rotten for the father and son. When Jamie asks his father why men always have bad luck when they compete against women, Ted can only suggest that God must be female.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Carlton is surprised to find that his guardian angel is not black.
- In Roseanne, several of the characters would frequently joke that God was a woman. Roseanne simply did it because she was very feminist. Dan also said it in one episode. After spending the episode carefully navigating around Roseanne during her hysterical PMS-induced mood swings, he finally comes to the conclusion that "God is a woman" is the only way to explain why women can act the way they do during PMS and get away with it. In one Christmas episode, she also said, "Put out a tray of peanut butter cookies, I hear she likes those the best," but it's not clear whether she was saying Santa was a woman, or she was merely placing her order for later.
- Guess what the [adult swim] series Black Jesus is about.
- Troy: Fall of a City: Zeus is portrayed by a black actor, while normally of course he's shown looking Greek.
- On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gina has a near-death experience. When asked what God looked like by Rosa, Gina replies "she's ethically ambiguous".
- Good Omens (2019): we don't see God, but the voice we hear in the narration is female. Additionally, the Archangel Michael is female, and other angels, demons, and Horsemen of the Apocalypse we see have a wider variety of appearances and genders than might be traditional.
- The OutKast album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" has an Andre 3000 skit, where he prays to god, who to his surprise is a woman. This causes him to rethink a lot of things, and he closes the prayer with "Amen. ...I mean... Ah Lady."
- !HERO: The Rock Opera has the Messiah making His first visit to mankind as a black man. On the album and the DVD performance, he is portrayed by Michael Tait.
- Madonna's infamous and controversial video for "Like a Prayer" features the statue of a black saint who comes to life. Fans often mistake this figure for Jesus. He is actually St. Martin de Porres.
- Lampshaded in Alfred Burt's Christmas carol "Some Children See Him".
Some children see him lily white
The baby Jesus born this night
Some children see him lily white
With tresses soft and fair
Some children see him bronzed and brown
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down
Some children see him bronzed and brown
With dark and heavy hair...
- A sort of example in one of Marcus Brigstocke's rants on The Now Show, in which he explains that in his head, God sounds like Dr Hibbert from The Simpsons. So for the rest of this routine, God is represented by a white British guy (Brigstocke) doing an impression of a white American (Harry Shearer) playing the voice of an African-American (Hibbert).
- In the Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation version of the story of Abraham, Jeremy explains that "For the purposes of winding up bigots, God will be played by Debbie Isaacs."
- Most depictions online of Australian deities look Caucasian. For example, take a look at what you come across when you research for Gnowee.
- Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew. He probably had brown skin, a Semitic nose, and brown hair. No one knows exactly what he looked like and racial phenotypes two thousand years ago might not correspond at all to ones we're familiar with, but he was almost certainly a good deal swarthier than most modern pictures make him look.
- In fact, as mentioned in this article, most cultures create images of Jesus as looking like themselves. This has led to depictions of Jesus as white, black, and Asian. The image of the white man with long brown hair seems to have picked up the most momentum because Europe had one of the largest Christian populations and one of the biggest outputs of art depicting him. This may eventually change, since most burgeoning Christian populations today are occurring on "darker-skinned" continents.
- A Christmas tradition in Germany celebrates the Christkind (Christ child) or Jesuskind (Jesus child). Though some newer figurines sometimes adapt the brown hair that his adult versions usually has, more often then not he is depicted as a small child with blue eyes, bright blond hair, white skin, angel wings and a halo. If an adult plays it for a Christmas market or similar, he sometimes even turns into an apparently totally different entity, and is shown as a young woman with long blond or silver hair, gigantic wings, a golden halo and a long silver dress.
- Several people of all races have either claimed to be Jesus or were considered to be Jesus by their followers. These include Wovoka (Paiute), Haile Selassie I (Ethiopian), Mīrzā Ghulām Aḥmad (Indian), Hogen Fukunaga (Japanese), José Luis de Jesús Miranda (Puerto Rican), Hulon Mitchell, Jr. (African American), and David Shayler (English).
- In Chinese Bibles, God is referred to as "It" because the character for "he" includes the character for "man". This gets confusing because technically "she", "he," and "it" are all the same word in (most varieties of) Chinese (pronounced tā in Standard Mandarin), but with different characters for the three uses.
- To go from the example given in the introduction, Thor was a redhead. So was Loki who tends to be dark-haired in adaptations.
- People from all over the world report seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. They always report that she conforms to whatever the ideal of feminine beauty is in their culture.
- Most works of fiction produced in North American, European, and even some Latin American countries will depict the Greek love-goddess Aphrodite with blonde hair. In the 1967 Cream song "Tales of Brave Ulysses", however, Eric Clapton emphasizes her Mediterranean roots and explicitly mentions her "brown body", suggesting that her hair would be black or dark brown. (Interestingly, the hair of Aphrodite's aunt Demeter, goddess of grains, is stated to be blonde - the color of wheat - in the recorded myths.)
- Since many religions believe that divine figures have the power to take on different forms and appearances, it wouldn't be too farfetched to say that they can look however they want. In fact, the convention of referring to the Abrahamic God as male probably only came about because Hebrew doesn't have any gender-neutral pronouns — people use the male pronoun when they're talking about a mixed-gender group. To whit, in modern Judaism, God is supposed to be intangible, invisible, and omnipresent.
- A painting of Pele at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park generated controversy because it depicted the goddess as being Caucasian. It, however, remained in the visitors' center from 1966 to 2005. In 2003, a contest was held to make a more culturally-authentic depiction of the goddess. Out of 140 entries, a group of Native Hawaiian elders selected this painting by Arthur Johnsen, and it replaced the other one in 2005.
- Part of Ellen DeGeneres' routines involving meeting God. God is very naturally a black woman with a very nice house filled with baby pictures of Jesus ("Jesus riding on a tricycle, Jesus going trick or treating in a cowboy outfit") and regularly invites people around for coffee and cakes. And has the same habit of getting lost in conversations as Ellen does. Rumor goes that Ellen was supposed to play the big deity herself in The Remake of Oh, God! before the film went into development hell.
- There's a joke about an astronaut who gets sent to the center of the galaxy, and his spaceship goes missing. When he suddenly returns, he calls the Chinese and tells them "I saw God. Pay me or I'll bring the end of your political system." Then he calls the Americans and tells them the same thing. They respond with "What do we care? This country was founded by people who believe in God." Then the astronaut says "Yeah, but they didn't know She's black..."
- Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: The Sword Coast Adventurers' Guide mentions some Tieflings (human and devil Half-Human Hybrids) claiming the various gods appearing to them in the form of Tieflings, proving that these gods care more about a person's soul than their heritage; it's left to the reader's interpretation whether theirs any truth to these claims or not, but the rumors certainly make more mainstream Clerics and Paladins uncomfortable, particularly those who believe Tieflings are Always Chaotic Evil.
- In Exalted, where there are literally millions of deities, the chief one, the master of the world, and so on and so forth (the Sun) has a form of a four-armed man. However, his original form, before he favored humanity above other races was that of a huge golden dragon, with hundreds of arms and blazing eyes with galaxies in them. Prior to this shift, he was also the racial deity of a Mayincatec dinosaur-people, so he's consciously aware of his image change. And that's way fucking cool.
- Pathfinder: Shelyn, the goddess of beauty, romantic love, and the fine arts, is typically depicted as a brown-haired white woman, but is ostensibly a deity of Tian (fantasy Asian) origin. Articles about her mention that she tends to be depicted according to local standards of beauty no matter the region, it's just that Avistan (corresponding to Europe) is where most of the Golarion setting's material is set.
- Warhammer 40,000: The God-Emperor of Mankind, implied on occasion to have been Saint George or even Jesus, was born in Anatolia, and resembles a very tanned white man (well, before he looked like a cybernetic skeleton).
- In Mac Wellman's play Sincerity Forever, Jesus H. Christ is a black woman with a heavy suitcase. The Most Magical Negro Ever Told.
- In Bruce Jay Friedman's Steambath, the afterlife is a steambath, and God is the Puerto Rican attendant there. In 1973, a televised showing of the play (on PBS, of course) showing of the play garnered a bit of controversy for this (and more controversy for the fact that Valerie Perrine bared her breasts in the broadcast, making history as the first actress to show her nipples on U.S. television).
- God ("De Lawd") in The Green Pastures, though He's not really a token since the rest of the cast is also black.
- The 2018 televised stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar had John Legend in the role of Jesus.
- In the Avenue Q song, "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist", Gary and Kate Monster get into a brief argument over whether Jesus was black or white. Finally Princeton chimes in and tells the both of them that Jesus was Jewish.
- Oracle of Tao: God usually appears throughout the game as the Triforce. When actually pictured in battle, God looks like Pistis Sophia (Holy Spirit), a sort of Mother Earth archetype (God), and a female Jesus on the cross. This picture takes up the whole screen with an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield showing a few different creation myths spliced together.
- Touhou Project: Suwako is a blonde Shinto goddess of Earth. And she was supposed to have carved significant chunks of Japanese land into existence.
- Prince Shotoku —here known as Toyosatomimi-no-Miko and is a girl— looks like a very Caucasian boy, even though Japanese nobles from his time claim descent from Amaterasu.
- Shou also looks like a Caucasian boy despite being a disciple/avatar of Buddhist deity Vaisravana. In her case, she was a tiger prior to becoming an avatar, so the light-brown hair is justified.
- Some characters in Yo-kai Watch are based off of religious figures. For example, Lord Enma is based on the God of Death, but he's a young-looking Bishōnen with red skin and yellow Anime Hair.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, the Daedric Princes are Eldritch Anthropomorphic Personifications of the spheres over which they govern. Technically formless deities, they can take any shape they wish, though the majority do take a fairly consistent humanoid shape when dealing with mortals, with gender more likely to change between appearances (Boethiah and Mephala being most prone to this) than race.
- Hades portrays the Greek gods as a wide range of ethnicities. Developer commentary says this is because Ancient Greece would not have considered their gods to be limited to Greece, and therefore their designs reflect the gods' worldly scope.
- In Overcompensating, the Devil is a black woman, while God is white trash (although He still has a beard).
- The Devil in Narbonic is stated to be female, although she is not seen on-screen.
- Satan, Andy's girlfriend on Casey and Andy is female as far as the rest of the cast is concerned- (s)he Has Many Forms, though, including a giant terrifying demonic one which certainly appears to be male, and which actually shows up pretty regularly. God seems to be male (and is dating "Andina" in the Dimension of Hackneyed, Stereotyped Opposites).
- Boy Meets Boy features the Devil as a woman named Lucy.
- Death in Finder's Keepers (2008) is a rather personable Perky Goth who seems to have some sort of relationship with Cardinal. Other Powers That Be have been mentioned, but are so far firmly in The Omniscient Council of Vagueness territory.
- Luci Phurrs Imps has God and Jesus as black men, Jesus is pretty laid back but God has nearly ended the world several times, only being distracted by watching 'planets funniest animals'
- In The Boondocks, Huey Freeman believes that Jesus is black, while Uncle Ruckus believes that Jesus is white.
- An episode of American Dad! had Steve envision God while stranded in Saudi Arabia. She appeared to him as Angelina Jolie. He was able to convince everyone of God's wise words, including the easy, fair way to peace in the Middle East. Until he said God was a "she".
Steve Smith: Look, God is a woman! God is a woman. Geez!Saudi man #1: Well, now we gotta kill him.Saudi man #2: Too bad. He had some good ideas.
- The New Zealand cartoon Bro Town features Pacific Islander characters — including a Pacific Islander God. And an entirely white Jesus. You figure it out.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Gaia, the spirit of Earth and Big Good. Voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, she's Ambiguously Brown. Ironically, heroes and gods from Greek Mythology are usually depicted as white, despite being from the Mediterranean. This Gaia probably looks more authentically Greek than most, even if she does have purple hair. According to the show's own website, she's supposed to have features from numerous races—dark skin (African), almond-shaped (Asian) blue eyes (Caucasian), etc. Any connection to Greek myth is In Name Only (especially since the mythological Gaia was rarely anthropomorphic and kept giving birth to monsters).
- Family Guy:
- According to Stewie, Jesus is actually Chinese, and his full name is "Jesus Hong." He has no idea where people are getting "Christ" from. (Actually, "Christ" is a title, not a name. It comes from Greek Χριστός, Christós, meaning "the anointed one.")
- There was also a Cutaway Gag about "Black Jesus." He is shown preaching to a crowd of entirely white Israelites, thus fitting the trope perfectly.
- In the episode where he actually shows up, Jesus is shown to be a self-hating Jew. (He looks like the standard Hippie Jesus, but Peter takes a peek down the front of his underwear to verify his Jewishness.)
- Moral Orel: Parodied somewhat where Buddha has the voice and mannerisms of an effeminate southern man.
- In South Park, God doesn't even appear as a human — he's a hippo/monkey hybrid. He's also Buddhist - after all, he doesn't need to believe in himself so why not an agnostic religion? - even though Mormons are the "right" religion that gets into Heaven. Satan, on the other hand, is gay (and a bottom).
- The Garfield in Paradise TV special had Jon and the pets vacation on a tropical island whose inhabitants apparently worship James Dean. (According to native legend, a man who looked exactly like Dean once drove his car into an erupting volcano to appease the demons within it and save the islanders, and now whenever the islanders see a classic '50s car, they think their god has returned.)
- The Norse deity Heimdall is black in Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., taking a note from the movies.