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(Onion AV Club)   Lovecraft Country facing backlash for forcing actors to wear blackface   (news.avclub.com) divider line
    More: Strange, Courtney B. Vance, Kelli Amirah, Amirah's video, makeup team, Black history, Creativity, Black people, lead actors  
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1356 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 08 Mar 2021 at 1:50 PM (9 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

 
2021-03-08 2:20:47 PM  
27 votes:
And by backlash, we mean a handful of people feigning outrage on Twitter.
 
2021-03-08 2:11:07 PM  
26 votes:
Amirah initially detailed her experience on set in a trio of TikTok videos in which she explained how she was cast to play a younger version of an elderly character in an old wedding photo. Upon arriving, Amirah realized some of the lead actors (she names Jurnee Smollett and Courtney B. Vance, specifically) were also on set that day and, she says, remained present for the subsequent incident. While sitting in makeup, Amirah says one of the makeup artists noted that she was a "little lighter" than the character she was meant to portray, while another commented that her features were a "dead match" for the other actress. As her foundation was applied, Amirah realized her skin tone was "getting darker and darker"-the resulting photo, which Amirah shared, confirms that her skin was significantly darkened. She also said that the makeup team went as far to darken her hands, as well.


So she was supposed to look like someone else, only younger. Her facial features were a match. Her skin tone wasn't.

Should they have:

A) Darkened her skin in Photoshop instead?
B) Fired her for the color of her skin?
C) Ignored it and whitewashed the character?
 
2021-03-08 3:42:46 PM  
18 votes:
I preface this by saying that I am a white male and the only thing I know of the black experience in America is what I've been told or taught.

BUT

For fark's sake, really? She wasn't put in "blackface." Her skin tone was matched to the older version of the character she was portraying, just as she would have been lightened had she been a white actress newly returned from Jamaica playing a viking princess.

There is racism. It surrounds and permeates us. It is a real problem in this country.

This, however, isn't any more racist than had she had her hair colored to match the other character.

And, if it IS racism and I just can't see it... explain it to me like I'm five.
 
2021-03-08 2:58:06 PM  
13 votes:
biatching after you cash a paycheck is far removed from saying screw you, not doing that.
 
2021-03-08 2:30:05 PM  
13 votes:
I go with everyone should have been digitally altered to be the same shade of green. That's the only way to be safe.

Yea, this is a BS article by someone trying to make a name for themselves.
 
2021-03-08 2:35:28 PM  
11 votes:

Tyrone Slothrop: Puglio: Amirah initially detailed her experience on set in a trio of TikTok videos in which she explained how she was cast to play a younger version of an elderly character in an old wedding photo. Upon arriving, Amirah realized some of the lead actors (she names Jurnee Smollett and Courtney B. Vance, specifically) were also on set that day and, she says, remained present for the subsequent incident. While sitting in makeup, Amirah says one of the makeup artists noted that she was a "little lighter" than the character she was meant to portray, while another commented that her features were a "dead match" for the other actress. As her foundation was applied, Amirah realized her skin tone was "getting darker and darker"-the resulting photo, which Amirah shared, confirms that her skin was significantly darkened. She also said that the makeup team went as far to darken her hands, as well.


So she was supposed to look like someone else, only younger. Her facial features were a match. Her skin tone wasn't.

Should they have:

A) Darkened her skin in Photoshop instead?
B) Fired her for the color of her skin?
C) Ignored it and whitewashed the character?

D) Hire a different actor who looked more like who they were portraying.


Would hiring someone with the "proper" skin tone and then using prosthetics to change the face to match have been better, worse, no different?
 
2021-03-08 7:04:30 PM  
10 votes:
I mean... yes, that's what makeup does and what it's for.

Amazing that you somehow got to the point of getting a SAG card without ever learning that, most of us pick it up in middle-school community theater or whatever.

... and yes, altering skin tones to make people seem more closely related than the actors are because the characters are blood relatives is a completely legitimate and not remotely problematic thing.

It is also, notably, not blackface.  Blackface isn't "any foundation darker than the skin of the person wearing it", it's a specific style of makeup with a very particular aesthetic with a very specific cultural history.  Calling a set of basic tone changes and touch-ups "blackface" is akin to calling any clean shaven man's look "clown makeup" because Gacy once shaved for a court appearance.  Just... fark off.

// If you want the actual term that's closest to what she's complaining about it'd be "race lift" but obviously she can't say that because most people don't have an particular problem with that beyond potentially depriving minority actors of roles, which is a larger, less malicious systemic issue that can't really be directly addressed at the point of individual hiring decisions in the first place.  Also still doesn't quite apply because this is a colorism thing, not even a race thing, at worst.
 
2021-03-08 5:27:42 PM  
10 votes:
Isn't blackface specifically white people wearing makeup to look like a black person with the worst blackface being an emphasized caricature of a black person?

Her makeup was not blackface, it was the equivalent of a fake tan on an actress with pale skin.

What happened here that caused her objection is the unspoken racism within the black community where a darker skin tone is seen as less attractive, but she can't say that (because it is unspoken) so she called it blackface.
 
2021-03-08 3:18:09 PM  
9 votes:
I am so tired of all this shiat. You can't write a book with a POC and you can't write a POC unless you are a POC. You can't put white people in blackface, fair enough, but now you can't even change the tint of someone's skin who IS a POC? When they are meant to be a different version of an established character? Ridiculous.
 
2021-03-08 2:28:15 PM  
9 votes:

Puglio: Amirah initially detailed her experience on set in a trio of TikTok videos in which she explained how she was cast to play a younger version of an elderly character in an old wedding photo. Upon arriving, Amirah realized some of the lead actors (she names Jurnee Smollett and Courtney B. Vance, specifically) were also on set that day and, she says, remained present for the subsequent incident. While sitting in makeup, Amirah says one of the makeup artists noted that she was a "little lighter" than the character she was meant to portray, while another commented that her features were a "dead match" for the other actress. As her foundation was applied, Amirah realized her skin tone was "getting darker and darker"-the resulting photo, which Amirah shared, confirms that her skin was significantly darkened. She also said that the makeup team went as far to darken her hands, as well.


So she was supposed to look like someone else, only younger. Her facial features were a match. Her skin tone wasn't.

Should they have:

A) Darkened her skin in Photoshop instead?
B) Fired her for the color of her skin?
C) Ignored it and whitewashed the character?


D) Hire a different actor who looked more like who they were portraying.
 
2021-03-08 4:19:27 PM  
8 votes:
Al Jolson and other similar minstrel type performances are textbook "blackface".

Changing a white person's skin to play a black character is not necessarily blackface, but is almost universally considered insensitive at best because of associations with blackface.  That is, you could put "black" makeup on a white person in good faith with no ill intent, but it's almost always a bad idea.

Hiring a lighter skinned African American actress to play a younger version (in a photo) of an older African American character in a show about racial inequality is NOT blackface.
 
2021-03-08 5:12:36 PM  
7 votes:

WhippingBoi: Does intent not matter any more?


Hasn't for quite some time now.
 
2021-03-08 3:07:19 PM  
7 votes:
Does intent not matter any more?
 
2021-03-08 2:26:47 PM  
7 votes:
It should face a backlash for killing off the best character in the 2nd episode.
 
2021-03-09 12:41:17 AM  
6 votes:
Blackface = white people dressed as characters of black people and playing up racist stereotypes

Not blackface = applying makeup to a black actor so they appear more like the other black actor they are portraying.
 
2021-03-09 11:48:27 AM  
5 votes:
Yeah, not seeing the problem here.

She was hired to play a younger version of a character who happens to have darker skin than she does. Makeup's job was to make her look like that character.

In this case, this is not colorism, but more like an example of this:

i.ytimg.comView Full Size


s.yimg.comView Full Size


i.redd.itView Full Size



You know... Acting?

If she was playing a character that had not been previously established to have dark skin, it wouldn't have happened. But she took the role knowing the character had darker skin, and I just don't get the logic of thinking you're going to play a character who... what?... Got significantly darker-skinned as she got older?

I don't see any racism here. I see stagecraft.
 
2021-03-09 4:43:51 AM  
5 votes:
WhippingBoi:An actress wore makeup in order to play a particular character.

What part of this "workflow" is confusing to you?

/or did you mean "wokeflow"?


The flow I mean is concept to approval. Someone gave this assignment to the makeup people right? Who was it and what did they say? I can't blame the makeup people if it was something like "Make her look like her". If I was the makeup artist and got that order then I'd do whatever it took to get her to look right, including darkening her skin if that's what I needed to do. I wouldn't ask the actress if she's okay with it and I wouldn't question the goal of making her look like the other actress.

As far as the actress being uncomfortable having her skin darkened, I find that complaint questionable. Makeup, wigs, and costumes are all part of the gig. Absent any evidence of racist intent or result, what's the problem? Her question of "Why did they hire me" has an obvious answer. They thought they could get the look they wanted with her, and they did.
 
2021-03-09 12:40:48 AM  
5 votes:
I watched this show and while I didn't hate it, I did wonder about all the love it was getting.

And then these two showed up.

i1.wp.comView Full Size


And it was the best thing I've ever seen on TV.   Simultaneously endearing and terrifying!
 
2021-03-08 10:57:13 PM  
5 votes:
I also don't get when people are pissed off by not using the correct ethnic voice actor to play an animated character.  Like a white person voicing a black character, but just using a normal voice (and not like a stereotypical "oh helllllllllll nah!" voice). For instance Jennifer Hale voicing FemShep in Mass Effect. You can have the whitest white or darkest black character, but still the same voice.  Are you really expected to have a different actor with the same skin tone as every option there is?
Or should we be upset a female does Bart's voice? Or that Hugh Laurie pretends to be American in House? (Not animated, I know. But still)
I don't care what race, gender, sexual orientation, or age a voice actor is, as long as they do a good acting job.  You want to have a 70 year old gay black female play an animated John Wick? If she can pull it off, I say farking go for it.
Same if a white dude plays a cartoon Shaft. I can  dig it.
 
2021-03-08 10:16:58 PM  
5 votes:

Birnone: I'd have to know the workflow before I can form an opinion. I assume the makeup department gets assigned their tasks then is left to their work. When they're done, someone says "Yes, that's fine" or "No, try again".

So if they have a photo of the main actor and this person they are working on is supposed to look like that main actor, I'd expect them to use their makeup resources to accomplish that. If I was the director I would not want them to decide on their own if what I wanted was acceptable or not.

On the other hand, if they hired a lighter skinned actor because of some bias against darker skinned actors then I can see the problem. The only thing that confuses me here is that they darkened her because the main actor is darker skinned, so if they are supposedly too biased to hire a darker skinned actor to play the young version of the character then why did they hire a darker skinned actor for the older version?


An actress wore makeup in order to play a particular character.

What part of this "workflow" is confusing to you?

/or did you mean "wokeflow"?
 
2021-03-08 3:48:15 PM  
5 votes:

alaric3: If she is playing the younger version of a character with darker skin the only other alternative would have been to hire another actress who resembled the older actor.


In which case the story is:  ACTOR FIRED FOR BEING "TOO BLACK."
 
2021-03-08 3:12:52 PM  
4 votes:
So she got paid to sit in a chair for hours and then sit still for a photo, and she's complaining? OK then
 
2021-03-08 1:51:41 PM  
4 votes:
Well, not really.
 
2021-03-09 1:54:52 PM  
3 votes:

karl2025: She was asked to do something she was uncomfortable with and didn't feel secure enough in her position to bring it up.


That's on her. She should have brought it up. Now, as an extra, she'd have likely been fired for it. So that's why she didn't bring it up, I'm guessing.

karl2025: That's a problem whether it's blackface or not, whether it's related to race or not. And that's it. She's not calling them racist,


She called it 'blackface.' That's an accusation of racism.
 
2021-03-09 3:08:44 AM  
3 votes:

Copperbelly watersnake: And by backlash, we mean a handful of people feigning outrage on Twitter.


"Journalists" don't talk to actual human beings anymore.  They just scroll through Twitter and find the most outraged quote, or the best bait.
 
2021-03-09 1:55:30 AM  
3 votes:

karl2025: She was asked to do something she was uncomfortable with and didn't feel secure enough in her position to bring it up. That's a problem whether it's blackface or not, whether it's related to race or not. And that's it. She's not calling them racist, she's not saying they should be burned at the stake, she's saying she thought they'd be more mindful and the company came out and said 'yeah, we should have thought about that and we'll do better going forward.'

That's all this is, a lesson in how an inclusive environment requires mindfulness and room for people to bring up issues. It's a learning opportunity. And all y'all talking about how she should shut up about it are missing that opportunity to learn from it.


This is all a build up to a lawsuit. She saw an opportunity and is exploiting it.
It'll be settled and she probably won't get much work after this. If at all.
Short term vision.
 
2021-03-09 9:01:13 AM  
2 votes:
Racists love this kind of cry-wolf controversy because it gives normal people wokeness fatigue and makes it easier for them to do actual harm like literally steal the right to vote from black people.
 
2021-03-09 2:43:28 AM  
2 votes:

log_jammin: caricatures, not characters.


That's a better definition.
 
2021-03-08 10:39:57 PM  
2 votes:

PvtStash: It's called acting, not, look a likes. You cast based on performance, and use makeup artists and hair stylists to get the right character look as needed.


"So the main character is an 5'4"  135lb Asian male. We had to cast someone to portray him as a teenager. We went with a 6'5" 270lb dark black female with one arm. Sure they don't look similar, but she nailed the performance so damn well, we don't think people will notice."
 
2021-03-08 9:52:39 PM  
2 votes:
I'd have to know the workflow before I can form an opinion. I assume the makeup department gets assigned their tasks then is left to their work. When they're done, someone says "Yes, that's fine" or "No, try again".

So if they have a photo of the main actor and this person they are working on is supposed to look like that main actor, I'd expect them to use their makeup resources to accomplish that. If I was the director I would not want them to decide on their own if what I wanted was acceptable or not.

On the other hand, if they hired a lighter skinned actor because of some bias against darker skinned actors then I can see the problem. The only thing that confuses me here is that they darkened her because the main actor is darker skinned, so if they are supposedly too biased to hire a darker skinned actor to play the young version of the character then why did they hire a darker skinned actor for the older version?
 
2021-03-08 9:05:50 PM  
2 votes:
Colorism is a thing.
 
2021-03-08 8:04:18 PM  
2 votes:
Where's the backlash for Lovecraft Country being mostly unwatchable garbage?
 
2021-03-08 4:59:35 PM  
2 votes:

Hoban Washburne: Al Jolson and other similar minstrel type performances are textbook "blackface".

Changing a white person's skin to play a black character is not necessarily blackface, but is almost universally considered insensitive at best because of associations with blackface.  That is, you could put "black" makeup on a white person in good faith with no ill intent, but it's almost always a bad idea.

Hiring a lighter skinned African American actress to play a younger version (in a photo) of an older African American character in a show about racial inequality is NOT blackface.


Fark user imageView Full Size


What about casting black men to portray black men portraying white women?

I don't have a point; this post just reminded me of the movie. It seems pretty unthinkable now, even though 2004 wasn't that long ago.
 
2021-03-09 11:54:58 AM  
1 vote:
Let me add: A makeup artist's job on a film (or stage) is NOT to make you look like the best version of you. Their job is to make you look like the best version of the character you're playing, and the character is (usually) not you, unless you're Howard Stern in Private Parts, or someone else in a cameo as themselves.
 
2021-03-09 11:27:55 AM  
1 vote:

karl2025: She was asked to do something she was uncomfortable with and didn't feel secure enough in her position to bring it up.


This seems to be the meat of it. I have to capacity to comment constructively on colorism, but an actor showed up on set with one expectation for what their day was going to be like, were asked to do something outside of their comfort zone, went along with it in the moment, but have regrets and feel that it was unfair to ask them to do that.

"I did this, I didn't want to, and now I feel I shouldn't have even been asked to." That's a fine stance to take! I don't see anything wrong with speaking up on the subject.
 
2021-03-09 5:34:27 AM  
1 vote:

leeksfromchichis: so ubiquitous that even african american performers like Bert Williams would wear it on stage


This I did not know, *googles*

Wow:

The pair performed in burnt-cork blackface, as was customary at the time, billing themselves as "Two Real Coons" to distinguish their act from the many white minstrels also performing in blackface.
 
2021-03-09 5:34:24 AM  
1 vote:

Rent Party: I watched this show and while I didn't hate it, I did wonder about all the love it was getting.

And then these two showed up.

[i1.wp.com image 800x1000]

And it was the best thing I've ever seen on TV.   Simultaneously endearing and terrifying!


Ain't seen faces like that since the original Fright Night.
 
2021-03-09 3:39:39 AM  
1 vote:

Naido: Copperbelly watersnake: And by backlash, we mean a handful of people feigning outrage on Twitter.

"Journalists" don't talk to actual human beings anymore.  They just scroll through Twitter and find the most outraged quote, or the best bait.


Whatever gets you the most page views. Which these days is what is trending on twitter. Or has the potential to outrage.
 
2021-03-09 12:43:24 AM  
1 vote:
caricatures, not characters.
 
2021-03-08 10:30:21 PM  
1 vote:
So far it's *actor* not actors, subby.
 
2021-03-08 6:20:20 PM  
1 vote:

dready zim: Isn't blackface specifically white people wearing makeup to look like a black person with the worst blackface being an emphasized caricature of a black person?

Her makeup was not blackface, it was the equivalent of a fake tan on an actress with pale skin.

What happened here that caused her objection is the unspoken racism within the black community where a darker skin tone is seen as less attractive, but she can't say that (because it is unspoken) so she called it blackface.


Not exactly. The modern colloquial usage is, but originally the term blackface was a particularly exaggerated make up pattern that unflatteringly depicted racial features, but was so ubiquitous that even african american performers like Bert Williams would wear it on stage. There's probably also an academic definition I'm unaware of.

Words mean things, but it's kind of a consensus as to what in any given moment.
 
2021-03-08 4:32:53 PM  
1 vote:

Hoban Washburne: Al Jolson and other similar minstrel type performances are textbook "blackface".

Changing a white person's skin to play a black character is not necessarily blackface, but is almost universally considered insensitive at best because of associations with blackface.  That is, you could put "black" makeup on a white person in good faith with no ill intent, but it's almost always a bad idea.

Hiring a lighter skinned African American actress to play a younger version (in a photo) of an older African American character in a show about racial inequality is NOT blackface.


Hiring a lighter skinned African American actress to play a younger version (in a photo) of an older African American character in a show about racial inequality *and putting on darker makeup* is NOT blackface.
 
2021-03-08 3:50:50 PM  
1 vote:

Copperbelly watersnake: And by backlash, we mean a handful of people feigning outrage on Twitter.


The pebble that starts an avalanche.

They can't ignore her victimization because they can't take the chance their victimization will be ignored in the future.

"They came for the blah blah blah, and I remained silent..."
 
2021-03-08 3:12:03 PM  
1 vote:

Tyrone Slothrop: Puglio: Amirah initially detailed her experience on set in a trio of TikTok videos in which she explained how she was cast to play a younger version of an elderly character in an old wedding photo. Upon arriving, Amirah realized some of the lead actors (she names Jurnee Smollett and Courtney B. Vance, specifically) were also on set that day and, she says, remained present for the subsequent incident. While sitting in makeup, Amirah says one of the makeup artists noted that she was a "little lighter" than the character she was meant to portray, while another commented that her features were a "dead match" for the other actress. As her foundation was applied, Amirah realized her skin tone was "getting darker and darker"-the resulting photo, which Amirah shared, confirms that her skin was significantly darkened. She also said that the makeup team went as far to darken her hands, as well.


So she was supposed to look like someone else, only younger. Her facial features were a match. Her skin tone wasn't.

Should they have:

A) Darkened her skin in Photoshop instead?
B) Fired her for the color of her skin?
C) Ignored it and whitewashed the character?

D) Hire a different actor who looked more like who they were portraying.



It's called acting, not, look a likes. You cast based on performance, and use makeup artists and hair stylists to get the right character look as needed.


The question is, why did anyone imagine this was needed? i don't watch the show so can;t speculate, but if we gotta have a bald young picard because audience too dumb to know it's picard if not bald...well was this a character matching situation of, audience too dumb to understand it is the same character at a different time in their life if the two actors don't look enough alike?

Just say'n, I find the carps table bet of:
people just dumb, is paying out more often than  the craps table bet of, explicit ideological following of racism on display.


SECRET TIP:
betting on dumb specifically, always wins, cause racism is dumb, but not all dumb things are racism.
 
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