Critics Say Will Smith Isn’t Black Enough to Play Serena and Venus Williams’ Father in King Richard

A number of critics are taking issue with the casting of Will Smith in the upcoming film King Richard saying he isn’t black enough. Smith has been cast to play tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams’ father Richard Williams.

A number of these critics believe the role should go to another actor who has darker skin.

George M. Johnson who has worked for ET, TeenVogue, and NBC saying that “Will should not play Richard.” He adds, “skin color matters in how folk were treated and navigated spaces.”

Johnson would not be the only one to take issue with Will Smith’s skin tone. Clarkisha Kent, who writes for Essence and the Huffington Post, asked, “Was Don Cheadle busy? Was Michael K. Williams unreachable???” She then states, “Jesus Christ, y’all won’t let colorism go.”

Clarence Hill Jr. writer and reporter who covers sports and the Dallas Cowboys since the late 90s was a bit kinder with his criticism of Will Smith’s involvement in the role. However, he stated, “there are other black actors for this role.”

Screenwriter and writer at Nerds of Color, Valerie Complex just simply stated “colorism at work.”

Freelance writer Scott Beggs tried to add some humor to his criticism writing, “Siri, show me a perfect example of colorism.”

Following the announcement of Smith’s role Rebecca Theodore-Vachon demanded Vthe “actresses they cast for Venus and Serena better be darker skinned or there’s gonna be problems.”

A number of people would push back on the idea that Will Smith isn’t black enough for the role.

And of course some people just outright mocked the idea that Smith isn’t black enough for the role.

This casting controversy is the latest to plague Hollywood. Scarlett Johansson recently removed herself from the lead role in Rub and Tug where she was scheduled to play gangster Dante “Tex” Gill, who was born a female but dressed like a man. Johansson came under heavy pressure from a number of transgender actors and their supporters.

She said in part: “I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”

Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana faced similar accusations to Smith when the trailer for the biopic on Nina Simone was released back in 2016.  Some even accused her of blackface.

What do you make of these critics claiming Will Smith isn’t black enough to play Richard Williams? Do you agree with them or do you think they are completely wrong?



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