“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there”. These words, spoken by actress Viola Davis at the 67th Annual Emmy Awards just last year, perfectly encapsulates the problem that, after over a hundred years, is STILL plaguing Hollywood. While white actors are given literally any role, non-white actors and actresses are continually sidelined, even when characters of their own race are being cast. Screencrush chose these words to open their new video, “Whitewashed”, which takes viewers through the long history of white actors being cast in non-white roles. And while you’d THINK that such a phenomenon would be limited to films from decades past, the video continues to the very present day, crying foul on casting choices like the recent casting of Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp as Tonto and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.
You’d expect this problem to be limited to things like Laurence Olivier in Othello, or Christopher Lee in numerous Fu Manchu films. But it continues, as the Screenrelish video makes abundantly clear.
Especially in light of the recent “Oscars so White” controversy, videos like this are incredibly important for bringing attention to the root of the problem: Hollywood’s appalling lack of roles for non-white actors, and repeated policy of giving roles that should be filled by non-white actors and actresses to their Caucasian peers.
While other film websites use their video sections mostly for repeats of the same trivia videos, it’s incredibly refreshing to see Screencrush using their audience to address real and important issues. Just last week, the site uploaded a similar video highlighting the comparatively small number of African-American actors and actresses to win an Academy Award, just 14 in 87 years.
We here at Popoptiq salute Screencrush’s commitment to highlighting important issues like these. It seems easier to remain “apolitical” and avoid such issues for fear of alienating those members of the audience or readership that either don’t want to here these truths or will argue against them. Just look at the comments section for proof that such readers exist, if you dare. Screencrush is not afraid to take that risk, and for that they should be applauded.
You can watch the video below.