Jonathan Pie on the Will Smith “colorism” flap

I wasn’t aware of this controversy, which borders on the risible. It turns out, as reported by the BBC, that actor Will Smith is set to play Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in a movie about their lives (dad coached his two daughters).

Although Will Smith is black, he’s apparently not black enough, because he was immediately criticized—on social media, of course, which attracts the entire Offense Brigade—for playing an African-American who is blacker than he is. Some examples of the offense:

Now of course in some segments of both the black and white communities, light-skinned blacks are treated better than darker-skinned blacks: “colorism” is a real thing, and has led to practices like darker-skinned blacks using “bleaching creams” to try to lighten their skin. But that’s about treatment, not about who’s playing the role of someone else in a movie.

Further, to use a black actor to play a black man, which is wholly appropriate, do you really have to do a “skin tone test” as well? Does the pigmentation of the actor have to match that of Mr. Williams? What if the actor was darker than Williams? Is that wrong, too? This way lies madness, as “Jonathan Pie” notes in one of his patented rants:

h/t: Heather Hastie

92 Comments

  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Good grief. Monty Python couldn’t have written a better comedy routine.

  2. Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    At least we now know there’s no one qualified to play trump in his biopic. So there’s that!

    • grasshopper
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      lol.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      I have this silly, recurring dream that one day our presidents will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. By the way, Alec Baldwin, Darrell Hammond, and several other actors do quite good portrayals of Mango Mussolini.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Pantone should do a smartphone skin colour-matching swatch so we all know where we are & a freckles one for ‘gingers’

    • XCellKen
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      I recently found my old Pantone Matching System (PMS) book from the old days of selling printed items. Maybe i could put it to good use again

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        I’m sure the make up world has lots of these for human skin tone. Since I’m uber pale, I just always buy the lightest of any foundation make-up. I think they need to make a line of foundation for people like me called “über weiss”. haha.

        Interestingly, I once knew a woman who complained they never made make up dark enough and it was because the companies were racist. At that time, I could never find make up light enough so I was perplexed by this.

  4. merilee
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    As much as I LOVE Idris Elba, it makes much more sense to have an American play the dad. Who’s playing the sisters?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Tilda Swinton & Cher – can’t remember which Williams they each play though.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        😀

      • Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Excellent choice!

      • merilee
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I assume you’re joking, Michael🤓

      • merilee
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Can’t get much whiter thsn Tilda.

        I’ve seen white tenors sing Otello with no makeup and it works fine. And a version of Much Ado About Nothing (I think that one has twins) with the twins played by a dark black guy and a white guy (two famous actors whose names escape me at the moment.)
        No color involved here but remember Arnie S and Danny de Vito playing twins?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Keanu & Denzel [I looked it up]. Later it was made into a stage play by William Shakespeare, his version had an all male cast!

          Tilda is a great actress – cool as cucumber [but not green].

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          Never saw the Arnie & DeVito vehicle though I see it was a hit here. Wiki says there’s a sequel coming called Triplets [not kidding now], but I think that’s died. Fortunately.

    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      And what if the *family* really wanted Will Smith? And what if Idris Elba- for whatever reason- doesn’t want the role?

      • neil
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        well,it goes to the default candidate, Scarlett Johansson….
        Or Zoe Saldana.

        • KiwiInOz
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Zoe has played a blue woman and a green woman (albeit aliens) but also wasn’t black enough for a role.

      • Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        Idris Elba too busy. He’s already been fantasy booked to play James Bond and Doctor Who.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          🙂 I like “fantasy booked”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Idris Elba, Terence Howard, Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, and Sidney Poitier — covering the gamut from high yella to dark brown — all played Nelson Mandela in one biopic or another (and somebody please tell Mr. Pie it’s “bio-pic” not “bi-opic”), without anybody getting their panties in a twist.

      So I think there’s room for Daddy Williams to be played by Will Smith (who, after all, did a helluva job playing Muhammad Ali).

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        “bi Opic” is Mr. Pie’s little joke. I’ve heard that pronunciation going around for a week or two, but I can’t recall who started it nor why.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I should’ve known.

          Apple-polly-loggies to Mr. Pie (if you’ll pardon my Nadsat).

          • merilee
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Me, too😬

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

              Nopro blem!

              • merilee
                Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

                Heheheee
                Your blemishes are not professional??

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Funny enough that’s how I thought it was supposed to be pronounced and I was so confused as to the meaning of “two eyes”.

          • darrelle
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            Me two.

        • Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          It’s actually been going around for a while time. I heard Simon Mayo complaining about it on the Wittertainment show several months ago.

      • grasshopper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s some list. It reads like a who’s hue.

        • David Evans
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Where’s my upvote button?

        • Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          +1

      • merilee
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, the bi-OP-ic drove me neurotuc.

      • Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        +1

  5. merilee
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Just noticed that the complainer couldn’t even get Elba right…

  6. Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Two thoughts:

    (a) That’s not how to spell Idris Elba’s surname.
    (b) He’s English. He’s from Hackney, London.

    They want an English actor to play a Black American because the Black American they have already isn’t Black enough?

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I dare say that Smith’s name isn’t nearly Black enough, either.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Nor is Williams, come to that.

        cr

    • neil
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      i think it’s a disgrace that no-one ever calls him out over the blatant cultural appropriation; trying to pass himself off with a Welsh woman’s name…
      🙂

    • Wunold
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      Come to think of it, wouldn’t that be cultural appropriation?

      • Wunold
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        Ah, now I see neil’s post saying the same. 😉

  7. Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Third thought. They contrast a photo of Smith taken in direct sunlight with one of Williams’ face shaded by a baseball cap just to make the difference look greater.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    … he was immediately criticized—on social media, of course, which attracts the entire Offense Brigade—for playing an African-American who is blacker than he is.

    The fuck you say.

  9. Joe Dickinson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    In local theater, I’ve seen plenty of black actors play “white” roles, such as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. And it was just fine (even though those Danes typically are pretty pale and in the production I’m thunking of, Hamlet himself showed mo trace of African ancestry). And I would argue that a white actor could play Othello if he was the best in an audition (obviously not in blackface). Theater asks us to suspend disbelief in so many ways, why not extend that by ignoring race altogether in casting decisions?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      What’s next, casting goys as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? 🙂

      • neil
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        if i were in a punning mood, i’d suggest that Tim Roth and Gary Oldman would Stoppard nothing to get that gig…

        • Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Wish WordPress had a ‘Like’ button!

          • merilee
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

            I sometimes get a LIKE button and sometimes I don’t. @#&*$ WordPress.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        “Our Judas is as fine a Christian man in real life as we have in our village.”

        I posted the quote below in yesterday’s discussion of the UNESCO sponsored parade. This from an article written in 1933 re Hitler exploiting the Oberammergau Passion Play because of its depiction of jews. One of the actors defends the play. It’s perhaps more apt here,so I repeat the entire quote here:

        ‘“Herr Stuckl, guardian of the Passion Play Theatre and depicter of the ‘Public Prosecutor’ of the Jews, the Priest Nathaniel, said: ‘We shall none of us feel the least reluctance to play our Jewish roles. Our Judas is as fine a Christian man in real life as we have in our village. No, no; I am a good German, and I believe something like what is happening now in Germany was inevitable. The Nazis will be inclined to help forward this 300-year-old tradition of our village.’”

    • Curtis
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I saw a version of Othello where Iago was also black. It was interesting but didn’t quite work.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Crazy but then it happens. Old Thomas Jefferson had some to say and by action this was rationalized back on the Plantation. His Sally Hemming was roughly half and half being the offspring of his father in law and a slave. However the children of Hemming and Jefferson were closer to 75/25 and very light skinned. They were therefore, appropriate for freedom.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      “the children of Hemming and Jefferson were closer to 75/25 and very light skinned. They were therefore, appropriate for freedom.”

      I don’t get the 75/25 business. According to the ‘one drop’ rule they were still black, and no matter how light-skinned, though many enjoyed a higher status on the plantation (as long as they were obsequious and subservient to their masters). If freed, they were still subject to the same odium that darker blacks had to endure and could be kidnapped and re-enslaved. Further freed blacks came in all colors and light=skinned blacks not infrequently married dark-skinned blacks according to what I’ve read.

      Wikipedia says that “Of the hundreds of slaves he owned, Jefferson formally freed only two while he was living: Hemings’ older brothers Robert, who had to buy his freedom, and James Hemings, who was required to train his brother Peter for three years to get his freedom. Jefferson freed five slaves in his will, all males from the extended Hemings family, including Madison and Eston Hemings, his two “natural” children. Harriet was the only female slave he allowed to go free. In addition to manumission for the Hemings men in his will, he petitioned the legislature to allow them to stay in the state.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        I do not know where the one drop rule comes from but probably was not something to go by in colonial days on Monticello. I do not get my history too much from looking at internet articles, it come from history books. I would suggest the latest you can find. Most of this could be found in American Dialogue by Joseph Ellis, copyright 2018. The more recent is usually the best. Jefferson was predisposed to free those slaves who could pass as white. He explained that inferior African blood remained dominant in the first and second crossings with white partners, but with the third crossing the blood cleared. Anyone who was seven-eighths white legally so and almost physically indistinguishable from White.

        All of his children by Sally Hemming fit that description. He allowed his two oldest children, Harriet and Beverly to walk away from Monticello in 1822 and he freed his two youngest children, Madison and Eston, though not until they reached maturity. He never freed Sally, who was three quarters white. I was attempting to generalize this in comment but if you insist on the exact facts I’ll turn you to Mr. Ellis.

        • Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          In Virginia at that time one-eighth was considered white. Sally was one fourth so their children were one eighth and they qualified as white. Some chose to go white but others did not.

          The one black ancestor no matter how far back rule was passed later, believe in the eighteen hundreds.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

            I get the idea that you and probably others here are just a little anal about details that don’t matter. However, if it makes you feel good, be sure and do it. The children of Jefferson that were freed, were set free because Jefferson set them free. The ones that were not were also because he chose not to set them free. In the slave setting it was not always simply a matter of how many fractions of white or black the slave was. Slavery in Virginia was not simply a math question.

            • Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

              Obsessive-compulsive. The term anal is not descriptive or useful.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                I suspect you only empress yourself.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:22 am | Permalink

          I]ll look for Ellis.

  11. Drbrydon
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I am guessing that make-up is out of the question. . . .

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Then poor Will would have to put up with the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd.

    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      If he did that he would be guilty of blackface

    • A C Harper
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:24 am | Permalink

      With CGI capability there’s no reason why Will Smith shouldn’t play the part and then receive ‘digital blackerface’ post-production.

      Of course then you could argue that someone of any skin colour, physiognomy, or sex shouldn’t play anyone else. You could alter their voice and delivery too. So in the end you would only need enough actors to cover films in production.

      Red carpet publicity shots could be surprising too.

    • Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      One of the replies to the tweet was:

      Who cares, they could add darker tint to his skin and it will be alright. Why is America so sensitive these days?

      I’m guessing that both you and the Tweeter have your tongues firmly in cheek, but you are advocating that Will Smith wear black face to play the part…

  12. eric
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I also found this absurd. It’s Will Frakking Smith. A-list Hollywood. Practically guaranteed to make any movie a financial success. Pretty much universally acknowledged to be a good actor with a literal lifetime of experience across multiple genres.

    …and someone’s suggesting they hired him for his skin tone?

    It’s ridiculous. They want an answer to the question of why they didn’t hire some alternative? Because, simply, Will Smith is the best they could get.

  13. Vaal
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Though I don’t have a a strong opinion on this particular story not having followed the details, I actually…in someway…agree with the “colorism” problem.

    It’s long been obvious that, as a trend with some few exceptions, Hollywood has favored lighter skinned black actors wherever possible. You rarely see black people with really dark skin on screen, and if you do it’s very, very rarely in a large role.

    That lighter skinned black people are featured by Hollywood and TV shows is something that has grown to irk me more and more over time. I think of it as the “Apple Product Black Person” – the inevitably lighter skinned verging on mixed-race (e.g. one white parent) look.

    I work doing sound on TV shows and when there is a black character within a large (usually white or mixed race) case, I often don’t have to even see that character to know the gist of what he/she will look like, ESPECIALLY if they have any romantic lead parts. Light skinned with features that veer towards the “whiter” end of the scale.

    The predictability of this bugs the HELL out of me, as if “you aren’t ready to handle someone who looks different than you, who looks BLACK! So we’ll find features that you’ll find easy on the eyes.”

    Admittedly, I’m not watching as much TV as I used to, and as TV has become more multi-racial, I presume this is starting to be mitigated. But I still see it enough that it feels really obvious. And if I were shown the actual picture of Williams’ father I’d have bet they would not have employed an actor with skin that dark to play him, and the choice of Will Smith gets an eye-roll: “of course….”

    (BTW, I’ve also heard that, unfortunately, there is some level of prejudice against darker skin even within the black community.
    I’m open to correction on that).

    • Taz
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      While you have a point, I don’t think it applies here. If you can get Will Smith to star in your movie, you get Will smith.

  14. Dave
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    There was a similar ruckus a few years ago when Zoe Saldana played Nina Simone in a biopic of the singer. A lot of people complained that Saldana wasn’t “black enough” to play Simone, a problem exacerbated by the fact that she also wore a prosthetic nose to give a closer match to Simone’s very African facial features. Given the current climate, I’m surprised that the producers of this new film didn’t anticipate the reaction they’d get by casting Will Smith in the role. Maybe they did, and it’s all just a clever marketing ploy?

  15. Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    You are correct about the prejudice within the black community.

  16. Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I somewhat side with the colorism complaint. I know it bugs me when they hire actors that don’t match the actual people they play in a biographical or historical work. How many times have we had to endure a bad English accent because they’ve hired an American actor to play an English character for their star power? And the actors are almost always more handsome or beautiful than the real-life people they are playing.

    Obviously there are limits to how close a match they can or should achieve but I feel they should try harder. Failure to do so leads to unconscious bias. If almost every black in a positive role is light-skinned and the negative roles dark-skinned, even if only on average, then there will obviously be some effect on the viewing population.

    • eric
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      A bad accent is a sign of bad casting, or at least optimistic casting that went wrong. However there’s plenty of English actors that can do a realistic American accent and vice versa…and I see absolutely nothing wrong with casting them in such other-accented parts.

      IIRC, for SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica they hired a Brit and told him to talk with an American accent for Apollo, then they hired an American and told him to play Gaius Baltar with an English accent, and then to top it off they hired a woman to play Starbuck (a character originally a very classic ‘jock’ male). There were all sorts of screams among origical fans about that last, especially…

      ..but you know what? It all worked out excellently.

      • darrelle
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        I liked all of the BG 2.0 casting choices, but I really didn’t like the series over all. It tried to like it. It started out very good, but got so tedious I lost interest. It happens a lot with TV shows these days. Every single episode has to be as intense as possible apparently, but it just can’t be sustained in a way that doesn’t become tedious and uninteresting to me. It’s like listening to overly “bright” speakers. Initially they sound great but they quickly pound your ears flat and then sound like crap.

        • Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

          That’s a good, accurate review of BG 2.0. I couldn’t take it. Too much like a soap opera for me.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          Good summary, I think.

          (I never watched BSG version 1, and I’m not about to, so for me that fuss about the rewrite just irrelevant.)

          I found it absorbing if exhausting watching. A large part of the interest was in who might be a Cylon ‘skin job’. I still remember the shock I experienced when I saw a second copy of Six and realised the implications.

          In fact, as the series progressed and the Cylons became more nuanced, I found the Cylons more interesting than the humans (!) And of course the ‘skin jobs’ were isolated in the midst of a human society who were likely to treat them appallingly badly if detected, so naturally they had my sympathy.

          (There’s always a frisson of interest in an alien ‘learning’ human society, right from Frankenstein’s monster, through Spock, various sci-fi androids)

          But anyway, must re-watch some time, if only to get all the plot twists straight in my head.

          cr

  17. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Just one question: Are Venus, Serena, and Richard Williams okay with Will Smith? If so, then all the armchair SJW’s can just STFU.

    cr

    • Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Why should we care what they prefer? If they hired actors for biographical works on this basis, we would see all kinds of bizarre choices. Perhaps all white males would want to be played by Brad Pitt and all white females by Angelina Jolie.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        “Perhaps all white males would want to be played by Brad Pitt and all white females by Angelina Jolie.”

        I could live with that 😎

        But seriously, if the *subjects* of the portrayals are okay with it, what business does anybody else have to object?

        cr

        • Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          I was being serious, though perhaps not about Brangelina. While the subjects’ opinions should be listened to, I want the biographer and, by extension, the production company to portray their subject objectively. It’s ok to add dialog and such to fill in the gaps in the historical record, I expect a biography to never portray events or people falsely. It seems strange to hear of actors working for months to copy some subject’s speech patterns and other mannerisms if, on the other hand, they look nothing like the people they’re playing. I would definitely leave none of this up to the subjects’ discretion lest it turn into hagiography of the worst sort.

          • eric
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            I want the biographer and, by extension, the production company to portray their subject objectively…

            So do I, but I care a lot more about the personality and the storyline being objective rather than the color of the actor’s skin.

            Look, if having a young boy play Juliet was good enough for Shakespeare, surely having Will Smith play Richard Williams isn’t too far of a stretch. IMO its the performance that matters most. Physical attributes matter to the extent that they might make it easier or harder to suspend disbelief about the actor being that character, but that’s the extent of it (at least, for me). I am skeptical, for example, that a white guy could make a credible Othello because the disconnect might push the audience “out” of acceptance of the play. But if he can, I say bring it. Likewise, a black Romeo? Bring it. And I say bring on Will Smith as Richard Williams. A rose of any other color smells just as sweet.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

              I’m with you there.

              The reason I mentioned the Williams’ approval in this, is because this is a movie about real living people. I think people who are specifically named and portrayed in a movie have a very strong and legitimate interest in how it’s done. I’m not saying they should have control or veto over what is said, but if they have no objection then I don’t see how any third party has standing to object.

              If someone wanted to make a movie showing Winston Churchill as a black man, or Joan of Arc as a transgender dwarf, then they can. They might lose something in credibility but it’s artistic license. But when it comes to living people it’s different, it’s someone’s life you’re (potentially) messing with.

              cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Let me put it this way, on just this one point. In making a movie about any real living people, you have the potential to influence how other people see them and to impact their lives. They therefore have a very strong and legitimate interest in how it is done.

        I am NOT saying a person should have a veto on whoever plays them; what I am saying is that, IF the Williams’ have no objection (and I don’t know if this is the case) then why should anybody else?

        cr

        • Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          That’s equivalent to saying that the Williams’ opinion is the only one that really matters, at least in one direction anyway. That is not consistent with objectivity which, I believe, is the duty of any maker of historical or biographical works that are portrayed as representing truth (ie, not comedy or satire). You can say it however you want but it doesn’t make sense to give them so much power over a public statement. If they want to tell a different story, let them write their own book or make their own movie.

  18. Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Forrest Whitaker blacked-up to play Idi Amin and no one batted an eye.

    • Mike
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      ISWYDT

  19. merilee
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Jonas Kaufmann, a German, played/sang a great Otello.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=jonas+kaufmann+as+otello+images&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari#imgrc=ordav5748X-WjM:

    • Filippo
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      As did Mario Lanza in his last movie, “For the First Time.”

      Not long after Obama was elected there was talk of whether Obama were “black enough.” I wonder if a final verdict has been rendered.

  20. KD33
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I can think of no greater endorsement of Pinker’s theses than the fact that this story exists.

  21. Roger
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Able was I ere I saw Elba.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Any opportunity for a palindrome, I always say.

    • merilee
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      ❗️

  22. sang1ee
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t know. I’d prefer the actor to look like the real life character they are portraying, including skin color. That goes both ways. But that’s should just be one of many considerations and never a deal breaker.

  23. CAS
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I still think that it will take another great depression for these idiots to spend their time on activities that have a real impact on human social welfare.

  24. Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    For crying out loud! I’m not a fan, but Will Smith is a leading contemporary actor, etc.


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