This week’s “Empire” episode highlighted the racist casting practices that movie makers may engage in and actresses Gabby Sidibe and Gabrielle Union have feelings about it.
On the Wednesday, May 9 episode, Hakeem Lyon lands a movie role with popular “Star Wars” actor, Haven Quinn. However, the gig is shortlived after the white director begins instructing him to turn up the blackness and act like a stereotype.
“Bring all your Black into it. Let your guard down. I know you’ve been taught to keep the beast in check. But on my set Black lives matter,” the director says before telling Hakeem to “turn the Glock pinky up like a rapper does!”
When Hakeem responds, “Don’t nobody do that,” he gets fired and the director pines for Jaden Smith to replace him. But at least he earns Haven’s respect.
Meanwhile, Sidibe, who stars on “Empire,” tweeted that’s she’s had a similar experience.
“I’ve mos def had a director or 2 who wanted me to be ‘blacker’ or ‘sassier’ or they just make a neck rolling motion and tell me to do that. Assholes,” she said.
I’ve mos def had a director or 2 who wanted me to be “blacker” or “sassier” or they just make a neck rolling motion and tell me to do that. Assholes. #Empire
— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) May 10, 2018
Moments later, Union co-signed, Sidibe.
“Gurl… Once had a casting director who kept saying ‘More sassy… you know. You KNOOOOW… like Della Reese,'” the “Breaking In” actress recalled.
Gurl… Once had a casting director who kept saying "More sassy… you know. You KNOOOOW… like Della Reese" 🤨 🤔 https://t.co/JH3JPbwTyA
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) May 10, 2018
Their disclosure led others to chime in on the ridiculousness of it all.
“I never understood that…,” someone tweeted. “How the hell does someone tell a POC auditioning for a role of a POC who already has the [role] ‘you’re not Black enough’ or ‘you’re too Black?’ 🙄WTF?”
“Once had a casting director ask me where I’m from because I wasn’t convincing enough of being a Black man,” an actor said. “From the south, HBCU grad, dark as midnight but you wanted a stereotype not a Black man.”
“Not Black enough and too Black,” someone else said. “I don’t even have words for this ish…well just one…Degrading!”
Spike lee joint Bamboozled was right pic.twitter.com/7XBcLPODqP
— Jake M. Grumbach (@JakeMGrumbach) May 10, 2018