Twitter critics: Will Smith’s skin is too light for this biopic
Will Smith can play a blue-skinned swoll genie in “Aladdin,” just don’t ask him to play somebody too “black.”
The Oscar-nominated actor has faced backlash after Deadline reported that he will be playing Venus and Serena’s dad Richard Williams in the upcoming biopic “King Richard.”
The problem? The former Fresh Prince is apparently too fair to play the darker-hued tennis coach, according to social media justice watchdogs.
“Will Smith is about to be the Scarlett Johansson of black movies,” Tweeted one critic, referencing the white actress playing an Asian character in the doomed live-action remake of the “Ghost in the Shell” anime. (Never mind that Smith himself is African-American.)
Other commenters have likened the incident to the light-skinned black actress Zoe Saldana having to wear “blackface” makeup to play the ebony jazz musician Nina Simone in the film “Nina.”
Richard Williams isn’t as recognizable as Simone, an icon whose work and appearance was defiantly political and called attention to her blackness. Yet the rumored casting seems to have touched a nerve — perhaps because darker-skinned black actors have had more difficulty snagging leading roles than lighter ones.
“Colorism matters,” tweeted Clarence Hill Jr. “Love Will Smith but there are other black actors for this role.”
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