The outrage brigades have been in a perpetual snit in regards to Hollywood for years now. The virtue signalers have felt they have a new frontier of activism by picking apart the casting decisions for films, and how those become triggering problematic offenses. Not content to accept the laughter they have already induced they have taken their cause to an even more risible level — black actor Will Smith should not play a black character.
As ridiculous as this sounds, it is actually playing out. At issue is the announcement that Smith will be cast to play in the life story of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Smith will be playing Richard Williams, the father of the two prodigies, who guided his daughters to worldwide fame, and some people are actually expressing dismay because Williams is a darker-skinned man.
Sports writer Clarence Hill Jr. said “Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role.” A number of others have echoed this position, and my melanin-deprived self cannot even wrap my head around this stance.
Yes, this is actually the argument — that Will Smith is not dark enough to play another African American.
We have now entered the proper societal casting stage that studios are going to be required to implement a pigmentation scale in order to find a performer who is “appropriate” by the standards of these arbiters of propriety. Soon we may see a case where a POC performer may be required to apply makeup to reach the approved hue of a character — and then what would the outrage be?!
The film role litmus test has been in full play for years now, ramping up especially in the past twelve months, or so. While racial casting has been a long noted controversy, the newer iteration of this was first noted a few years back with “Jem and the Holograms”, of all films. Some social scolds took exception of the fact that the character of Shana was being portrayed by Aurora Perrineau. Shana was a black singer in the cartoon series, but Perrineau was a mixed race actress. It was not racist to make this distinction, mind you.
Since then the complaints have become more pointed, and as a result more ridiculous. Dwayne The Rock Johnson was on the receiving end of head shaking when his character in “Skyscraper” had a prosthetic leg and a disable actor was not used. Recently Bryan Cranston was the focus of scorn in “The Upside” as he played a paraplegic while being fully able-bodied.
The arguments are being made, ignorant of realities of the industry. First, you are essentially saying that an actor is incapable of portraying a wheelchair bound character, for instance. And note as well, there would likely be no outrage if a story was altered with a previously able-bodied character being made physically challenged to accomodate for a performer who is disabled in some fashion.
Want to really make heads explode? Let’s reverse engineer this casting standard, and declare that the dark-skinned standard should have been applied when the darker Denzel Washington was cast to play the lighter-skinned Malcolm X. It is an asinine suggestion, and yet this is exactly what is being suggested today.
Now, what are we going to do about the other recently announced film with Will Smith? He has been cast to play the genie in the live-action remake of “Aladdin”. How come Disney has not cast a blue thespian to take on that role?!?!