Critics: Will Smith Too Light-Skinned to Play Serena Williams’ Father in ‘King Richard’ Film

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/Al Bello/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/Al Bello/Getty Images

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.”

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.


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