The new film King Richard is facing allegations of “colorism,” as critics say that actor Will Smith’s lighter skin tone does not match the actual skin tone of the character he is cast to play.
Will Smith is reportedly cast as Richard Williams, the father and tennis mentor of Venus and Serena Williams.
Several journalists and cultural critics have accused the film of “colorism” — the idea that between people of color, there are more privileges and opportunities for those with a lighter skin tone.
“Colorism matters,” sportswriter Clarence Hill Jr. declared Tuesday. “Love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role.”
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
colorism at work…. https://t.co/YsxlKjDVoh
— valerie complex (@ValerieComplex) March 4, 2019
Was Don Cheadle busy? Was Michael K. Williams unreachable??? Jesus Christ, y’all won’t let colorism go 🙄 https://t.co/daiDVsPtZm
— Clarkisha Kent: This One Lady (@IWriteAllDay_) March 5, 2019
Just like Chadwick shouldn’t have played Thurgood Marshall, Will should not play Richard
Skin color matters in how folk were treated and navigated spaces. Is Alexandra Shipp playing Venus? https://t.co/iNtikcsIoT
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) March 4, 2019
..all I know is the actresses they cast for Venus and Serena better be darker skinned or there’s gonna be problems
— Rebecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) March 4, 2019
Siri, show me a perfect example of colorism. https://t.co/clB0SdX7Dr
— Scott Beggs (@scottmbeggs) March 5, 2019
Hollywood continues to find itself in controversies over which actors can play which roles.
Last year, controversy erupted after actress Scarlett Johansson was cast to play the transgender character Dante Tex Gill in the film Rub and Tug.
Under pressure from activists, she dropped the role, saying, “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”
“While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film,” she said.