Will Smith casting as Richard Williams sparks colourism debate

Discussion in 'Celebrity Scuttlebutt' started by Sarah, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47468011

    An upcoming biopic about the father of Serena and Venus Williams has faced criticism amid reports that Will Smith will play the lead role.

    Richard Williams, 77, coached his daughters to become two of the world's greatest tennis players, despite having no previous experience of the game.

    But Smith's reported casting in the film has angered critics, who say he is too light-skinned for the part.

    The actor has not yet commented on the reported casting or the criticism.

    Colourism is a form of discrimination against dark-skinned people in favour of those with lighter skin from the same race.

    It can lead to a lack of representation in film, TV and fashion, particularly in Hollywood and Bollywood, as well as discrimination at work or on dating sites, and even to serious health problems from skin bleaching creams.

    People also suggested other actors who could take on the role - including Idris Elba, and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali.

    "Colourism is constantly subconsciously fed to us and we just eat it up," one user added.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Fan

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    Smith may not have the same complexion as Williams but I think there is a strong resemblance.
    richard-williams-will-smith.jpg
     
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  3. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Is it not insulting to Smith to somehow imply he is not right for the role as he is not "black" enough? I mean, he's clearly a black man and lived his whole life as that. He's an actor not a magician. The world is a rainbow of colour, we are all different. I would understand if they had cast a white guy or an Asian actor. They have cast an African American actor.

    In every race there are varying skin tones and complexions. An actors job is to be convincing in a part using their talents.
     
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  4. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I agree. And I'm just grateful that the way things are going in the entertainment world, that they didn't cast someone from American Idol.
     
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  5. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator

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    I broadly agree with both of you you but I also understand the other side of the argument. If there was a level playing field in which all actors were treated equally there wouldn't be an issue but often when a role is requires a male or female black actor, casting directors preferentially choose actors with a lighter complexion because they are view them as being more attractive as they look "more white". Consequently, darker skinned black actors find it more difficult to get top roles so when an opportunity to play a character with dark skin comes up it must be galling for them to see a lighter skinned person get cast.

    Often I see biracial actors (half black, half white) play characters written as being black which wouldn't be a problem if equally black characters were cast in mixed race roles but that rarely happens. The pool top of roles for black actors is relatively small and made even smaller for dark-skinned black actors when those roles are disproportionally cast with light-skinned black actors.
     
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  6. Frank Underwood

    Frank Underwood Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Smith was accused of colourism himself when the dark skinned Janet Hubert was replaced with the light skinned Daphne Maxwell Reid on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
     
  7. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    I had been thinking about this today and wondering what would be said if Will Smith was made up to appear darker? How would that go down? I genuinely don't know how that would be received? It's all a strange thing I hadn't really thought to before. Though I'm interested in people's thoughts about it.
     
  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Totally agree with this. There's black and there's Hollywood black.
    It's like those British actors smearing cosmetic tan on their face - et voila! - they become the glamorous sheik of Abdula Waba.
     
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  9. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    But that's much less of a thing now. It's much more from the past. And maybe you could argue that more British actors are character actors? I don't know, they have more of a theatrical background.
     
  10. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior

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    Also isn't it a lot different in the UK? Than in say, America? I think there are more variations and skin tones shown in the UK and Europe on TV and in film. No?
     
  11. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Fan

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    Color film was originally developed with lighter skinned people in mind; it was less flattering to people with darker complexions. I wonder if that has changed over time.

    Hollywood definitely appears to have a bias against dark skin as well as Afrocentric features.
     
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  12. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    That's true, there are many more international actors these days.
    But still, it was a very cheesy thing to do.
     

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