*Black Twitter reacted strongly to Monday’s announcement that Will Smith has been tapped to play Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, in an upcoming biopic titled “King Richard.”
Deadline reports that the Oscar-nominated actor and his Overbrook Entertainment have partnered with Star Thrower Entertainment to produce the movie based on Williams’ life and the 78-page plan he created to help transform his daughters into the superstar athletes they are today.
But critics say the role should go an actor with darker skin, like Idris Elba and Mahershala Ali.
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Mahershala Ali isn’t available???
— sandiesideup ? (@sandiesideup) March 4, 2019
As noted by msn.com, some have compared the casting reports to Zoë Saldana’s portrayal of singer Nina Simone in the 2016 biopic “Nina”, for which the actress donned blackface makeup and a prosthetic nose. Others have cited Scarlett Johansson’s whitewashed role in 2017’s “Ghost in the Shell”.
“Colorism matters,” sports writer Clarence Hill Jr. noted of the importance of casting an actor with darker skin to play 77-year-old Williams.
One Twitter user, however, responded to the criticism by saying: “So let me understand that a black man can only play a black man now if he is the right shade of black. So that case Denzel Washington should never have played Malcom x.We as black people only brings ourselves down.”
Read below some of the reactions to Will’s casting:
Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role https://t.co/qrV1QuBiJH
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 5, 2019
Yea I can see the resemblance ?? pic.twitter.com/aGc5mX0wMA
— BTTB (@CoachTony305) March 5, 2019
Is the make-up artist from NINA available https://t.co/socWocxlxX
— Ira (@ira) March 5, 2019
Will Smith is about to be the Scarlett Johansson of black movies ?? https://t.co/O1F0vLhO6p
— Tanyaradzwa ? (@MsSmileSoBright) March 5, 2019
I just spent 13 sec looking to the left and right in rapid succession. I dig Will immensely but plenty other brothas that could better portray Mr Williams in appearance
— CDRC (@_CDRC_) March 5, 2019
It’s not about skin colour. Will Smith can not act. Give me Idris Elba.
— David Bourne (@DavidBourne1978) March 5, 2019
But not everyone agrees with the critics. Many of the negative reactions have been slammed by Smith fan who say the haters are being petty over skin color/shade.
This is really pathetic and sad. He is an awesome actor and will play hell out of it. Doesn’t matter his skin color. It’s the talent!!
— Fearless (@sasyncurvacious) March 5, 2019
I don’t care if Will Smith is not dark enough for this role! I’m still going to watch it ??♂️. Y’all didn’t say nothing when white people played Jesus. pic.twitter.com/yLP2OV11Se
— Joseph Jalil Fields (@JalilJoseph) March 5, 2019
People complaining about Will Smith not being the right shade of black to play a role pic.twitter.com/aPqZF1fYie
— OJ Pimpson (@Mattheveli) March 5, 2019
So let me understand that a black man can only play a black man now if he is the right shade of black. So that case Denzel Washington should never have played Malcom x.We as black people only brings ourselves down,
— seketee (@shine254) March 5, 2019
How do you feel about Mr. Smith playing Mr. Williams? Sound off in the comments.