The upcoming biopic faces a ton of pressure from critics to reverse a "colorist" casting call.
As reported just yesterday, Will Smith has been cast in the role of "Richard Williams," the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. The prospective film titled King Richard is to be undertaken by the producorial team of Tim and Trevor White, whose Star Thrower Entertainment obtained the production rights to the script.
But Will Smith's casting as the 77-year-old father-coach hasn't exactly been met with open arms by critics at large. The belief is that Will Smith is too "light-skinned" to play the part, thus reinforcing ideas that Hollywood is once again guilty of a) tokenizing Black actors, and b) not casting a wide enough net, talent-wise.
Much of the consternation has made its way to Twitter, where public figures representing a collective consciousness have joined in pointing the finger. Clarence Hill Jr, a noted cultural critic, and sports writer made the issue of "colorism" the focal point of his message - others followed suit soon after, redressing Clarence's position in their own words. Before long, a united front had emerged on Twitter, demanding recursive action over the questionable casting call.
A few of the less visible Tweeters offered alternatives to Will Smith's casting. Names like Mahershala Ali and Idris Elba figured amongst the most popular suggestions. But the most ardent social commentators were advocating stark changes in the cultural politics of Hollywood, not the summation of acceptable talent (along those color lines). The issue of racial politics in Hollywood bears more than one comprehensive layer to its feather count.