Will Smith has just been casted to play the role of King Richard, the father of Tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, this big news has however not settled calm for some of the netizens who think the actor is not ‘black enough’ for the role. This debate of ‘colourism’ in the 21st century is still, sadly a very-much an alive issue. In 2009, a Russian magazine faced backlash after it published a cover photo of Beyoncé as a whole new person i.e white skinned after which another magazine completely reversed the issue by turning the Queen into having an over-the-top tanned skin which Beyoncé clearly has not.
This issue of skin colour is still an ongoing debate and Will Smith’s casing as the father of Tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams stands in the forefront. The film titled King Richard is reported to showcase the inspiring story of a father with no formal tennis background raises two of the most world-renowned tennis stars. Netizens, however, think that the casting of Smith is a choice that the filmmakers needed ‘rethinking’.
The casting has received flak from netizens who think Smith as the mentioned role is a ‘poor choice’, mainly of the differences in the ‘skin’ colour. Many netizens although admitted Smith as a good actor cannot come in terms with the skin colour of Will Smith and Richard Williams his role.
Check out some of the mixed reactions from Twitter here:
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
Confused about the definition of ‘acting’. @ItsRamiMalek, who is straight, plays a gay man and experiences zero backlash. #WillSmith, who is black, is chosen to play another black man and there is backlash. Nothing makes sense anymore.— Miam (@makeitamystery) March 5, 2019
Him being lighter-skinned is definitely problematic, but why is no one addressing the fact that we're getting a williams FATHER movie before a williams SISTERS movie? Hollywood doesn't like dark skin but it might hate women even more #WillSmith— Scott Williams (@ByTheirHalos) March 5, 2019
I don't have a problem with them doing a film about Dad. he's a big part of how the sisters became who they are today. But...err um...I curr more bout the colorism issue...nah Will come on...smh— #ListenToBlackWomenKamalaHarris2020 (@psddluva4evah) March 4, 2019
I tell ya what though, the actors who play Venus and Serena BETTER be dark skinned!
While the casting of Smith as Richard remains a debated issue, the announcement on the casting of Serena and Venus' roles hasn’t been made official. The film is being produced by Tim White and Trevor Write via their Star Thrower Entertainment banner and Smith himself through his Overbrook Entertainment banner.