Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Do We Do These Things: Sha'mon Now

by Da CogNegro:

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know I never understood that expression! How is it even humanely possible for one to live "under a rock"? If I'm under a rock, chances are I have been crushed by some boulder that descended from a mountain I had no busy climbing in the first place! I could have simply did some sort of  simulation at my nearby Chuck E Cheese after a quick stop at CiCi's pizza! But no, I decided that I wanted to be adventurous for the "Two Sixteen Ya'll" and look where that got me: flatter than Mary Kate Olsen in a tanning bed!

My diet consist of hiccups and whispers! 

So, unless you've been a hermit and avoided television and the internet for the past week, you obviously have heard the news that British born actor Joseph Fiennes, known for playing Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love as well as (scratches head and searches IMDB)  Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love has been cast to play the most iconic,BLACK recording artist of all time: Micheal Jackson!

Yes, so amidst the Oscarsowhite# controversy , news breaks out that a white actor will play the king of pop in a made for TV British movie that details a "fabled" car ride with both Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando during the 9/11 tragedy! Allegedly, Micheal wanted to travel to LA after a benefit concert in New York but due to the attack on The World Trade Center, he was not able to fly to his desired destination. As a result, he paid a driver to transport  him,as well as  his two celebrity friends, out of the state. Did I mention that this also happens to be a comedy ?!

This is not the first time that we have encountered the"color blind" casting controversy in recent memory.When word got out that African American actor Micheal B. Jordan was cast to portray Caucasian super hero The Human Torch, comic enthusiast and bigots alike were outraged! I discussed my stance on the matter in the entry entitled "Colors For The Win" which can be read for your enjoyment and enlightenment right HERE! Jordan was not the first African American cast for a comic character that was originally depicted as a white male. For this reason, many individuals who support Fiennes casting have cited these examples in defense of their stance . Well, I hate to break it to you but The Human Torch, Kingpin ,Nick Fury (who is African American in the Marvel's Ultimate Universe) and any other recent comic book character that has been played by an African American are not real people! They are indeed characters in a fictitious universe.

Since you insist on shattering my dreams of meeting said characters, I have no choice but to label your page "Worst Blog ...Ever"!

But the rationalizations don't stop there folks. Some have stated  that the negative response to Fiennes' casting is unwarranted due to Jackson's skin color, in his later years of course , resembled that of a white individual. Here in lies the negligence as it relates to racial identity. MJ suffered from a condition called vitiligo, which was proven to be true after an autopsy was conducted on his corpse. As a result of this disease, Micheal's skin did undergo some changes. To what extent was the vitiligo to blame for his drastic transformation? The world may never know. Nevertheless,the pigment of his skin does not change the  fact he was and identified himself as an African American male. In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson vehemently denied that he wanted a white child to portray him in a Pepsi commercial because he was "proud to be a Black American...proud of his race...proud of who I am". And if one payed close attention to Jackson's later career,Mike became more vocal about black issues, proving that he was indeed a champion of his heritage .So at the bare minimum,respect the man's wishes as it relates to what he wanted to be  known as :an African American male!
This casting decision is the latest in a long line of racial misrepresentation that has been a common practice in motion pictures and television thus proving that more discussion and action is needed in order for true progress to be made. There will be a series of entries that deal with the lack of opportunities that people of color  have, when it comes to the realm of entertainment, as well as what depictions are allowed to garner attention and which ones are ignored all together. Therefore, I am reserving further commentary for those subsequent write ups. In the mean time, let's hope Stacey Dash isn't cast as Latoya Jackson!  There's no need on having two non-African Americans portraying famous black musicians! Happy Black History Month!- CgN 

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