Guess what?! They’ve done it again! White Hollywood has managed to make another film about non-white people while using white people to play the primary roles.
Am I the only one who sometimes feels like maybe they have a personal connection with a celebrity and understands them even if you’ve never laid your bare, naked eyes on them before? Suddenly, they do something that’s got you like, “No buddy! Why? I thought you were different?” That’s how I feel about Matt Damon. Oh and apparently I will start to feel the same way about Scarlet Johansson and I already feel this way about Gerrard Butler. This is regardless of how much I love their acting skills and the fact that I will probably still watch the Avengers and any other movie that involves them. Let me explain why.
The Great Wall was released, February 17th. Before today I had never seen a preview for the movie till I was watching music videos and YouTube forced me to watch it before I was allowed to enjoy Bad and Boujee. First reaction is, “WTF is Matt Damon doing in ancient traditional Chinese armor and fighting on The Great Wall for?” then I saw this link on my Facebook by Buzzfeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kassycho/xie-xie-matt-damon?utm_term=.mbMv9P1P3L#.otrA3KbKR4.
Here, people, specifically far east Asians are just trolling Matt Damon on twitter due to the cultural appropriation the film displays. Now obviously, Matt Damon is not the only actor in the movie, there are some experienced and new Asian actors like the really famous Zhang Ziyi who was in House of Flying Daggers and Memoirs of a Geisha, just to name a few. Apparently, Damon plays a European Mercenary who with his men get attacked by a monster from the other side of the wall. That’s what the wall is keeping out, Monsters. I just don’t understand why the lead role has to be played by a white male. There are many prolific and extremely talented Asian actors who would have done an impeccable job. Hell I would be so psyched if Jackie Chan was casted as the lead role. I’d be jumping out of my seat the entire movie. Imagine if it was Jet Li? Damn! That’d be something. For now, I will refrain from seeing the movie.
Gerrard Butler played the role of Set, the Egyptian god of darkness in the film Gods of Egypt. When I first heard of the movie, I was super excited because I love anything that has to do with the mystical world and folklore, especially when it has historical and cultural roots. As more and more previews rolled out, it became very clear that none of the gods were played by a black actor. Let me break it down for you. None of the gods in a movie that talks about the traditional gods of the Nation of Egypt, which is situated in Africa, was played by a black person, Egyptian or better still, African. I did not watch the movie. Boycotted it.
Scarlet Johansson is currently preparing a film called Ghost in the Shell which is based from its popular Manga series Ghost in the Shell. Ever since the casting was declared, many of its fans regardless of their nationality have expressed their displeasure towards the casting of a white woman to play the role of an Asian character. It is of Japanese origin but the producer, Steven Paul claims that they are not ‘white washing’ the story because it was admired internationally and has settings and characters from all over the world. Yet, the Manga is widely respected and known as being Asian. Once again, there are more than enough well qualified individuals available to play the role Johansson has been honoured with. Might just boycott that one too. I will have to wait to see what the reviews are especially from the Asian crowd once the movie is out.
I don’t have a problem with the actors or the movies, I just wish as human beings, we’d be far more respectful to the diversity that exists in the film industry. Maybe next time have a Nigerian- American actor who actually has a Nigerian accent to play the role of the doctor in the film Concussion, instead of Will Smith. That’s how you expand the industry and further more draw in a larger viewing crowd.