Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Black Is Black (I Want My Characters Back)

Don't tell me that I'm a bigot because I believe in my fictional characters as I believe in people. 

It would be wrong to cast a white actor to play Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or Cowboy Curtis or T’Challa, The Black Panther -- and what Hollywood is getting up to now is just as wrong.

If you want to cast Idris Elba as a British Secret Service Agent who carries double-0 status and is MI-5's current 007, by all means do so. I would go to see that. But don't call him James Bond, because he won't be James Bond. Give the character his own name, his own history, his own personality, and I'm with you all the way.

You want to cast a black actor as The Human Torch in a Fantastic Four movie, by all means do so. There's been more than one Human Torch in the comics, and one of them was an android. Just don't call him Johnny Storm, because he won't be Johnny Storm. Give him his own name, his own history, his own personality, and I'm with you all the way.

Samuel L Jackson has been playing the head honcho of S.H.I.E.L.D. in all the Marvel movies, and I'm fine with that — he's got the gravitas plus some. But they shouldn't oughtta be calling him Nick Fury, 'cuz he's not playing Nick Fury. Fury’s history spans from leading the Howling Commandos in WW2 to becoming the head of SHIELD in the swingin’ ’sixties. You can’t shoehorn Jackson into that history, and they haven’t tried. The character in the movies has a name and an eyepatch in common with Nick Fury… and that’s all. 

There's a right way and a wrong way to integrate Pop Culture. If you do it right, it's the right thing to do. But what Hollywood is doing with these casting choices is nothing less than slathering blackface make-up on characters who aren't black. It's APPEASEMENT, not integration. At best, it's Lazy. At worst, it's Hollywood's continuation of the Minstrel Show.

— Frede.

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