In a society in which color is supposed to be less and less of a big deal among people of African descent, increasingly it seems that it always will be.
Will has had his fair share of both naysayers from time to time.
He once jokingly apologized for making “Wild, Wild West” after the expensive revisited western flopped at the box office.
His level of self-deprecating humor is on par with the likes of Don Knox and Rodney Dangerfield, but with exponentially more cool factor.
Even when the viewing public deems a Will Smith project as lame, he’s always game.
Recently, it was announced that he had been selected to star in the upcoming film King Richard as Richard Williams, the venerable father and trainer of world-class tennis professionals Serena and Venus Williams.
And some people almost exploded in disdain at the very thought of it.
No, they’re not mad because they don’t think that Will Smith has the chops to pull it off. They’re mad at his skin color. It seems as if people forget that Will is a very accomplished actor with the chops to play comedy and drama with equal effectiveness.
The view the world has been shown of Richard Williams has been poisoned by bigoted ideas about black fatherhood, as well as his noticeable disdain for the media.
Williams was vilified a great deal over the years for the manner in which he attacked the country club mentality that was prejudiced against the two little black girls from Compton, California.
He also was keen at coming for anyone else who refused to recognize the bubbling greatness that stood before them.
Cries of colorism are the most readily recognizable critique to emerge from the digital din as it relates to Will Smith being chosen to play Richard Williams. In my eyes, Smith and Williams are a very similar phenotype and I definitely think he can pull it off from an acting perspective. Indeed, I gather that the naysayers are forgetting how incredible he was in “In Pursuit of Happyness” and “Ali”.
Indeed, perhaps for some it was one time too many when he shouted out his wife and family, or perhaps he was just too damn happy in all those IG videos where he and his loved ones are having more fun than you ever imagined possible that make some folks hate.
Only heaven knows why the fastest, most virulent critiques of Smith being selected are from people that look like him or why a man who isn’t exactly “high yella” is being lambasted for colorism simply for accepting a role.
That sound you may hear as you read this are those stampeding to my IG page to see if I am “high yella” as well, to which I’d readily say “black is black”, paraphrasing Q-Tip off De La Soul’s “Me, Myself and I”.
Folks acting like he’s El DeBarge trying to be cast as Luther Vandross.
So, to combat colorism, a very real problem, we clown a guy who’ll likely do a great job because he’s a few shades too light? If so, who determines the limit to which this theory is realized?
Sometimes we can split a hair so thin it becomes damn near invisible. After “King Richard” is released and gains critical acclaim, the majority of those who have a problem with Will in this role will conveniently forget they ever had a problem with it at all.
Those who can no longer hate will eventually congratulate, like the dozens of other times Will’s skills were doubted over the years.