Black actors who played cops

Actors who rejected stereotypical roles

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It's not exactly a secret that television and film have immortalized racist stereotypes on screen for generations. The debate about actors playing into them has raged equally, especially among colored people, since Lincoln Perry - who took the stage name "Stepin Fetchit" - the first black movie star for his controversial role as "The Laziest Man in the World" in the silent film of 1927 was. In Old Kentucky. Although some have argued that Perry actually rendered the part subversive, many others have viewed its performance as irresponsible.

These days, on-screen stereotypes are more subtle and insidious. As many filmmakers continued to create and cast stereotypical roles, it has forced color actors to make some tough decisions: do they accept the roles and plausibly advance their careers, or do they resist and reject the potentially harmful portrayal? At the 14th Annual Black Enterprise Conference 2010, director Spike Lee addressed the situation of black actors in particular: “This is a complex topic because every artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors. But I still think that a lot of the stuff that's on today is coonery buffoonery ... we can do better. "

However, not every color actor has taken his contributions to racist representations on screen lightly. With actors rolling all the time in Tinseltown, over the years several stars have battled racism in the entertainment industry by passing on offers they believed were detrimental to their communities.

John Cho rejects roles with big bold accents

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In an industry that forces Asian Americans either to play ugly stereotypes or into a "symbolic annihilation" (via Gq) from television and cinema screens, John Cho has managed to make a serious and relatively stereotypical career. In the magazine's piece “How John Cho Defeated the Asian-American Actor Stereotypes”, published in 2016, the author Kevin Nguyen examines how the actor got involved in racist portrayals in seven of his most famous on-screen parts.

For one of those films Big Fat Liar, Cho was asked to audition for a character with a heavy accent - a request he declined. "I don't want to play this role in a children's comedy with an accent because I don't want young people to accidentally laugh at an accent," he explained in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit. To Cho's surprise, the film's director, Shawn Levy, agreed and said, “Well, we'll get rid of the accent then. Come in and we will develop a different character. "

Throughout his career, Cho has been remarkably consistent in his demeanor. According to Gqthe Star Trek Actor never put an accent on a role. "I've experienced racism, and in my professional life I try to take on roles ... that do not fall within the parameters of an Asian stereotype," revealed Cho on his Reddit AMA. "... So maybe in a bizarre little way that helps people not to think of Asians in a certain way."

Denzel Washington's career took a different direction

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One of the greatest actors in history, Denzel Washington has been recognized as such and won two Academy Awards for his on-screen work. Incredibly, he's managed to screw up his accolades and create a truly awesome career out of an industry that historically has historically minimized opportunities for (and accomplishments) for people who look like him in the past.

However, Washington had to be careful as he cultivated his way as one of the most recognizable names in the industry, especially early in his career. During one Times Talk Interview in 2012, he explained how Sidney Poitier once advised him to choose his early roles wisely in order to control how Hollywood perceives him. “I got a role in a movie in 1986. I call it that N *** a you couldn't kill"Declared Washington. “... He raped a white woman. And they tried to electrocute him but it didn't work and he became a cult hero ... Then they tried to hang him. "Understandably offended by the role, Washington refused, adding," Six months later I got Cry Freedom and got an Oscar nomination ... My whole career could have gone a completely different path. "

Yet while Washington’s career has been exceptional, not everyone believes that their roles have moved beyond racial stereotypes. Robert Hill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has argued that both the actor's Oscar wins were for stereotypical roles, playing “the angry slave soldier in Splendor ... and the murderous cop maniac in Training Day.

Shannon Kook is more than a number

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Best known for Jordan Green in The 100, Shannon Kook may not have an A-list credentials yet, but that hasn't stopped him from thinking about the impact he can have on the entertainment industry. In 2019 he sat down with Digital spy and talked about being a visible minority in Hollywood, the responsibility he felt to seek fair representation, and how that has helped him manage his career.

"I've definitely taken it into every role I tackle," said Kook. “Most of the time you get caught in a corner. I was expected to be a certain stereotype of what an Asian man is. For years. And I've turned down a lot of roles or played roles differently. "The actor, who is of Mauritian, Chinese, and mixed South African descent, added," I often find that the industry expects me to be a watered down version of myself that fits what they portrayed as what Asian men are ... [and] mixed people too. "

Kook stated, "I think mixed people have a very muffled voice right now because there is such pressure to be ethnic or non-ethnic that it is so easy for mixed people not to have an identity."

How Angela Bassett turned down the Oscar-winning role

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As Halle Berry won the Oscar for best actress for her performance in Monster's ball, she dedicated part of it to the "women standing next to her" and named some actresses, including one Angela Bassett. Speak with Newsweek 2002 (about Entertainment Weekly), Bassett was grateful for the mention in Berry's speech and was delighted with her on-screen success ... but claimed she was offered the role and declined because she believed she was performing for black women.

"I didn't want to be a prostitute in the movie," said Bassett. "I couldn't because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality." While it should be pointed out that the character was actually not a sex worker but rather a waitress and grieving mother having an affair, Bassett added: “Film is forever. It's about putting something out there that you can be proud of 10 years later. I mean, Meryl Streep won Oscars without all of that. "

Bassett was previously nominated for an Academy Award in 1993 for her performance in the film. What es Love Got To Do With It. Unfortunately for her, the recognition didn't give her career the boost you might think. "I haven't worked for a year and a half", Black panther Stern said. “I think I was pretty naive to think that it would be different - that it was all about talent - especially for someone who looks like me. Sometimes you forget that. "

David Oyelowo rejects stereotypical roles in order to "be part of the solution"

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After his fascinating performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in 2014 Selma, David Oyelowo appeared primed for his turn as a leading man in Hollywood. Since then, e.S. however, his résumé does not necessarily reflect these predictions. According to him, this could be partly due to the roles that are offered to him - parts that do not allow him to portray himself and his race fairly.

"I live my life from the perspective that I have to be part of the solution and not the problem," said Oyelowo Access to Hollywood in June 2020. “… I think one of the privileges I don't have is to just play any role I want because I know that certain roles perpetuate stereotypes and perpetuate mindsets that people have about black people is not helpful for everything we talk about. ... I turn away about 80 percent of what I get for that reason, because I understand the power of storytelling and images on culture. "

Oyelowo recalled talking to a black police officer who confirmed that he was making the right career decision. "He thanked me for some of the films I make," the actor said, explaining how the pop culture media shaped preconceived notions of some of the cop's white colleagues about interacting with black people. "And so these images are whatever they are, if that tells how you see black people, then what I do for a living, for some people, is life or death."

Kumail Nanjiani is not interested in playing "stereotypical brown guy roles"

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Kumail Nanjiani has hopefully gone from "scene-stealing-bit-roles" to award season with The big sick to the star of his own superhero movie, Eternals. For him, one of the best parts of success is auditioning for parts beyond what he calls “stereotypical brown guy roles”.

“I have a Pakistani accent, but it would be like, 'Could you make it funnier? Lean in a little. ‘And at some point I decided that I just wouldn't do that,” Nanjiani said during one diversity “#REPRESENT: Success Stories” in May 2020. “There are certain parts that require a thicker Pakistani or Indian accent, and that's perfectly fine, but I just didn't want the comedy to just come from someone with their accent exaggerates. "

Most notably, there was one "really, really big" movie that Nanjiani lost, in part because he insisted on speaking in his own voice while auditioning for the role of a taxi driver. “The director said, 'Hey, could you put the accent up a bit,' and I was like, 'I'm sorry. I won't, ”he explained. “And then the guy felt really bad. He felt really embarrassed. ”Although he didn't specify which movie, Nanjiani previously confirmed that he was for Deadpool during a similar discussion for on his former podcast. It is a possible match, especially since he admitted that the "film was very successful" but added with a laugh, "I don't regret it."

Thandie Newton has experienced various shades of racism

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Thandie Newton has brought races into play in a number of ways throughout her career - thought she once turned down the idea that her identity could affect her on-screen opportunities. "I don't even use the term 'race'," she said The Guardian In 2016 he added: "I resisted it ... and then I had to accept it."

Talking about how she's benefited from a color industry that favors light over dark skin, Newton said vulture in July 2020, “Today there is regret for me. I realize how painful it is for dark skinned women, especially dealing with being replaced or overlooked. ... To see a woman of color, to see this dark skin, this beautiful chocolate skin, my mother's skin, on the screen ... It is sacred. "

the Westworld Star has also turned down roles in an attempt to combat racial stereotypes, such as when controversial studio manager Amy Pascal asked about Newton's "educated" character in the 2000s. Charlie's Angels Fresh start to be rewritten to be a "more believable" black woman. Yikes "I'm like I was at university. I went to Cambridge. ‘… She says, 'Maybe there's a scene where you're in a bar and she gets on a table and starts shaking her booty,'” Newton said of Pascal. “She basically defends herself against these stereotypes of how a black character can be more convincing. All she said I was like, 'No, I wouldn't do that.' "

Rita Moreno took a post-Oscar break

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In recent years Rita Moreno has found a new home that she One day at a time, but that wasn't always the case for the legendary EGOT winner. In 1961 she won an Oscar for her role as Anita in West Side Storyto receive the honor as the first Hispanic performer. It would make sense that she would then be bombarded with high quality roles. Instead, nothing really changed, and she was still being pressured to play a caricature of herself.

"What interests me is having the vision so early and still feeling so inferior to everyone else in the business for years. I believed I had to be submissive to anyone who wasn't Latino," Moreno said later The Miami Herald 2008 (about LatinAmericanStudies.org). "In front West Side Story I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The conchitas and lolitas in the west. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing. But I did it because there was nothing else. To West Side Story, it was pretty much the same. Lots of gang stories. "

Win what did Giving Moreno, however, was the power to turn those roles. "Ha, ha. I showed it," she said sarcastically. "I didn't make another film in seven years after I won the Oscar."

Riz Ahmed would be “more likely to be broke” than to play stereotypical roles

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Compared to some of his more critical colleagues Rogue One Star Riz Ahmed believes the entertainment industry moves forward when it comes to accurate on-screen racial and cultural representations.

"When you first see gay characters in mainstream cultures, or black or Muslim characters, they can start out as stereotypical portrayals - it's the taxi driver, the shopkeeper, the drug dealer," Ahmed said in 2017 during a panel discussion for The Hollywood Reporter. "And then sometimes, hopefully, you go beyond that, and there are still storylines tied to that character's ethnicity or sexuality, but they work against those stereotypes." He added, "I was lucky that I just came into play when we moved a cartoon from this stage to the second stage. So a lot of my early work deals with issues related to the war on terror or Islamophobia, but I'm proud to say that it deals with and deals with these issues in a creative way. "

Ahmed was fortunate and talented in assigning roles that would enable him to make a positive contribution to promoting racial representation, but he still had to wade through the border or blatantly racist offerings first. "Yeah, there was a lot of, like, Terrorist # 3 stuff," he admitted, referring to the character names he could have played. “I just made a decision that I didn't want to make. I thought I'd rather be broke. "