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Julia Roberts As Harriet Tubman? There’s White Washing and Then There’s Just Plain Crazy

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by G. Brown

Actress Cynthia Erivo is earning all the praise for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the bio flick “Harriet”.    It’s the story of a slave-woman fighting not just for her freedom but for the freedom of generations.

Most people over a certain age are familiar with the name and legacy of Harriet Tubman.  Most people except a studio exec who reportedly thought the role could be played by a White actress.  I kid you not.

According to EW.com, when the film’s screenwriter and producer Gregory Allen Howard first presented the script to a studio in 1994, he says the exec suggested Julia Roberts for the lead of Tubman. Allen says, “When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.’”(EW.com)

Roberts was on a Hollywood hot streak thanks to the 1990 hit “Pretty Woman”.  Julia Roberts as a pretty woman…ok, sure.  Julia Roberts as a Black woman who saved countless Black lives via the underground railroad…AWW HELL NAH!

That’s pretty much the prevailing sentiment on social media as the headline hit the internet…

 

Someone posted that we have to remember that Julia Roberts’  name was thrown out there at a time when Hollywood was very different and not as diversified as it is in 2019.  It doesn’t matter if her name was thrown out in  1846…when is it ok for a White woman to portray a Black figure in history?  Neither would we want to see Angela Bassett play Betsey Ross or Viola Davis as Eleanor Roosevelt.

This was a case of Hollywood ignoring the truth and trying to perpetuate a lie on the silver screen like it did when casting  Laurence Oliver as “Othello”,  Elizabeth Taylor as “Cleopatra” or  Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson.  Whitewashing is as much a part of Hollywood history as the Great White Way–pun very much intended.

Yet people lose their collective sh*t when actors of color are considered for roles of fictitious characters like James Bond and comic book heroes or Disney cartoon characters like “The Little Mermaid”.

Hollywood is often full of BS…normally that would mean ‘bombshells’, but this time we mean the other thing…

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Shawn

    November 21, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Shocked AND disgusted

  2. Avatar

    NBA is fixed

    November 20, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    If you admire Harriet Tubman, watch the original Harriet Tubman movie starring Cicily Tyson.

  3. Avatar

    NBA is fixed

    November 20, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    For those of you who still think hollywood doesn’t hate black people, Judy Garland wore blackface in the movie “Everybody Sing.” In 2016, Zoe Saldana wore blackface in the movie “Nina Simone.” Hollywood hates black people.

  4. Avatar

    NBA is fixed

    November 20, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Racist hollywood hired Angelina Jolie to play the black woman Mariane Pearl in the movie “A Mighty Heart.” This is why we need to own our own movie industry and produce our own movies. When we beg the racist white people who run hollywood for roles, the result is white actors wearing blackface and playing black roles and black actors wearing the dress or getting shot in the butt. Hollywood hates black people.

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