Yes children, I am going there.
Hollywood, we have a problem!
I write interracial romance and erotica. I Love writing interracial romance and erotica. But I believe when you go into someone’s culture, you show it the respect it deserves. Those who knows me, get that I love culture. When you’re creating a world with a blend, it’s the most beautiful thing. But for a time tested tale like Aladdin, there isn’t much wiggle room to go off half-cocked and change stuff.
A few years ago the world imploded when Scarlet Johansson accepted the role of The General in Ghost in the Shell. I was one of those people thinking what in the hell is she thinking when the news reached me. There was absolutely NO excuse for that. Of course she couldn’t say she didn’t know she wasn’t aware of what race the character is supposed to be. Ghost in the Shell had been around for years and a seasoned actress like that must have researched the role before accepting it, right? I mean, it’s not like it’s a brand new idea, with new characters and all. There are thousands of actresses who could have been casted in this role–all of them of Asian heritage that would have been a lot more suitable.
Thankfully, when this piece of garbage hit theatres fans showed their displeasure by barely going to see it. That meant it failed to recup the money spent to make it.
Then Tilda Swinton accepted the Ancient One role in Dr Strange, and once again the world showed its displeasure by typing out their frustrations in 140 characters or less. The issue, Ms. Swinton, isn’t that people didn’t want a woman playing the role. The issue is that we would have wanted the role to be given to a Tibetan/Chinese/Korean/Phillipino/Indian/Japanese actress. That is the problem. Out of all the irritation I read about this casting choice, not one of them said it was because she was a woman. Her race was the issue.
Then comes Hellboy. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Ed Skrien from The Transporter Refueled to Deadpool. And he’s not bad to look at either – but he is no Diamio. The moment I heard of this casting, I washed my hands of Hellboy and it damned near broke my soul. I am a HUGE fan of the franchise. I’ve seen all of them, read the comics, indulged in the soundtracks.
Anyway, Ed’s excuse is, he didn’t know of the character’s Japanese heritage. I find that a little hard to believe considering the character’s last name was Diamio. But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. But Ed did the stand up thing and stepped down.
Much respect for that homie.
Then the mistake that was THE GREAT WALL where a civilization built a wall that can be seen from outer space BEFORE modern day technology but still needs Matt Damon to come save them from pissed off dragons….What??
I’m not even going to get into Death Note because the disappointment and anger I feel about that knows no bounds.
Now to Alladin. I have always loved this story. And when Disney came out that they were making it, I was like well shit (pardon my French) here we go again.
They casted Will Smith as Genie – okay, Africans were and are plentiful in that part of the world.
Naomi Watts as Jasmine – I had to do my research to realize she is in fact part Gujarati so she is right for that role.
Then they casted Mena Massoud as Alladin-Woo! We’re on a roll, Disney! Play ball!
Marwan Kenzari as Jaffar – Hot damn! Let’s do this thing!
Then Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders (you remember Billy from Into the Woods and As the World Turns). Wait….What? Who is this magical creature and where did he come from? Why is he even a thing?
Is this because Disney feels that we can’t have a hit movie set in the Middle East with no white people? Or is it because every ethnic woman must be like Pocahontas and wanting their own John Smith?
Why is it so hard for Hollywood to realize that we’re tired of seeing the same faces over and over? What is the issue? Why do we really need a (politically incorrectness in 5…4…3…2….) white prince in Alladin? Why do we need a white character in this movie? Why is it necessary? Why is it that Jasmine must be tossed around between who she’s supposed to be with and this new guy? Why can’t she be woman enough to fight her attractions for Alladin and loyalty to the way she was raised? Why does an Ethnic character need a white prince?
I am confused and disappointed by this latest turn of events. And don’t get me wrong. I ADORE Billy. As an actor he is one of the best. I watched him in As the World Turns on youtube constantly and used to watch it back in the day. I watched Into the Woods for him. But there is no reason for this.
Hollywood has a whitewashing problem and they refuse to face the fact that even their fellow Caucasian folks are speaking out about this crap.
But why should we be surprised by this?
This is a movie coming from the same company that made Beauty and the Beast, a movie about a woman who falls for a man who kidnaps her father, kidnaps and emotionally abuse her. I mean, parents read this crap to their kids as babies not realizing the damage.
This is from the same company who made Songs of the South back in the day about a Slave who was ‘happy’ to be a slave.
This is from the company who made the new Cinderella with the actress’ waist being so tiny, parents began worrying about the ideas this may be giving to their little girls.
This is from a company who claimed to be diverse and made a movie with a Black Princess but that encompassed the same tired stereotypes as before and made her only a human for like ten minutes of the whole movie and a frog the rest.
Why do we expect anything better from these people?
But you know what? This is our fault. If when Hollywood behave as if there are no other cultures in the world we would stop giving them our money, they would learn. What we need to do is when they do crap like this, have them release the movie and have it open to a $0 dollar box office. That would send a clear message that we won’t sit by and take this anymore. If you’re going into a culture, respect it. This is getting out of hand and they won’t stop doing things like this until we stop feeding the beast.