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Degrading NWA Biopic Casting Call Reveals The Prejudices Within The Black Community
August 5. 2014
Members of NWA and the cast and crew of forthcoming biopic "Straight Outta Compton"
Recently, a horrible casting call went out for women to appear in the forthcoming biopic "Straight Outta Compton" about the California rap group NWA. The ignorant, self-hating descriptions in the casting call left many people offended. It is as follows:
A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair — no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30.”
“B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30.”
“C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30.”
“D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30.”
When I was a teen, I read an article in an African American magazine about the term "colorstruck." It is in reference to some, not all, black people, who glorify light skin and curly hair and disparage dark skin and kinky hair. At its root are ignorant stereotypes and prejudices within the black community worldwide, held by some, not all black people.
What's ironic is black people who believe light skin is better than dark skin and curly hair is better than kinky hair are deluded and self-hating. Any black person, I don't care how mixed the individual is, who lives or has ever lived had ancestors with very dark skin and kinky hair. Anyone with even a drop of black blood in them had such ancestors. It's sad that men and women, who come from a long line of black women are engaging in this self-hate.
Recently, I ordered an electronic skincare product for hair removal. The telephone representative, who was white, talked about different skin tones best for the product and described Halle Berry, Alicia Keys and Rihanna as "dark" people the product would work on, when most black people deem them light. He wasn't being prejudice, but to him, a white man, they are dark (some white people are "porcelain" hued). Yet in the black community, there are ignorant prejudices regarding light and dark skinned blacks, when at the end of the day, light or dark, black is black.
Recently, I was looking at the fashion line of a black man and everyone of his models for every fashion campaign, both male and female, were mixed race or white. Not a single dark skinned black man or woman. This is ironic as the person behind the fashion line is not mixed, but a dark skinned man with African features. Yet, here he is repeatedly sending out the message that he worships mixed race and white looks, while denying and disregarding people of his own dark skin tone. Not to mention, he only dates mixed race women, who almost look white or white women. He doesn't like women who look like him in skin tone or facial features.
I have nothing against interracial dating. I would date and marry a person of another race. Though I am black, if it weren't for interracial marriage, I wouldn't be here, as many of my ancestors are of different races (three of my great-great grandfathers are white European males and one of my great-grandfathers was a Portuguese Indian man, among others). However, at the same time, I respect, appreciate and promote every race, including my own, via my columns and other work I have written and copyrighted.
People need to learn to respect and appreciate every look. For example, women such as Halle Berry, Lupita Nyong'o, Megan Fox, Gisele Bundchen, Tamron Hall and Jessica White are all beautiful and cover every color/skin tone spectrum.
Rochelle Riley: N.W.A. casting call defining beauty backfires, reveals ugly side of Hollywood
12:54 PM, July 22, 2014 - There are still grown-ups who believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They’re the same people who believe that violent, sexist rap music and blood- and murder-filled video games have absolutely no effect on kids. But let’s not talk about all kids for a second. Let’s talk just about the girls, especially young black girls. And let’s consider a Hollywood casting call that has caused outrage in circles across the country — because definitions of beauty affect kids, too.
A Los Angeles agency issued a call for Universal Picture’s upcoming “Straight Outta Compton,” the most anticipated rap film since “Eight Mile” and next to John Singleton’s upcoming “Tupac” biopic. “Compton” will recount the rise and roils of the rap group N.W.A. (look it up), whose members included the film’s producers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.
Slated for an August 2015 release, the film has begun production. But the recent casting call for women broke my heart. It asked them to send in photos and information in four categories that you have to read for yourself:
■ “A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair — no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30.”
■ “B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30.”
■ “C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30.”
■ “D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30.”
I read it and shuddered. I ached for those young women who would eagerly read the directions, then try to find themselves in those descriptions. I wondered, near tears, how girls who placed themselves in the D category would feel. I couldn’t decide whom to be madder at — Universal Pictures and the casting agency, which both have since apologized, or Ice Cube himself...
You see, I never liked Ice Cube. I didn’t listen to gangsta rap. Ice Cube was not a part of my world until he co-starred in John Singleton’s “Boyz in the Hood” and showed me he was capable of so much more than what I knew...
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