One of the biggest issues surrounding the world of Hollywood and entertainment is visibility. With the #OscarsSoWhite movement highlighting the lack of inclusion for people of color in Oscar nominated movies, we began to see more people of note addressing the discrepancy of roles for non-white actors. Particularly whitewashing, where roles intended for people of color are rewritten or given to caucasian actors in an attempt to reach a wider audience. And while it seems like movies and TV have been making positive steps, inclusion is still a hot topic issue. And it turns out that for Samuel L. Jackson, the issue also extends to British black actors being cast in roles written about the African-American experience.
Samuel L. Jackson recently appeared on Hot 97 FM in order to promote his role in Kong: Skull Island. Eventually Jordan Peele's acclaimed new horror movie Get Out came up, and he revealed that he's not too happy with Daniel Kaluuya getting the role of Chris. As Kaluuya is British, Jackson believes that he couldn't really understand his character's history, and that it should have been given to an African-American.
How do you really feel, Sam? Samuel L. Jackson's opinion is certainly a controversial one, especially for black actors who have managed to book exciting and important films in Hollywood.
And Get Out wasn't the only film that Samuel L. Jackson took issue with. For similar reasons, he cited Selma with problematic casting. The film saw British Nigerian actor David Oyelowo being cast as Martin Luther King Jr., which Jackson felt similarly conflicted about.
Samuel L. Jackson's comments are sure to elicit very emotional responses from both sides of the debate. On one hand, Jackson's sentiments echo the idea of proper inclusion. Many felt that Tilda Swinton's Doctor Strange role should have been awarded to an Asian man (as in the comics), since there are so little roles for Asian actors to begin with. Similarly, Jackson believes that a character that centers around the black experience in America should have been given to a black American actor.
Conversely, there are others who standby the belief that any movie about black people is a victory for all black people. Get Out told a very specific story about life and race in 2017, so shouldn't the best actor get the job, regardless of his country of origin?
In fact, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega took a bold stance against Jackson's comments. You can see his response on the next page.