For months now black folks and all other people of color have been screaming to your deaf ears the serious implications and fallacies that lie in moving forward with a film entitled “God’s of Egypt” where most of the Egyptian (read: African) Gods are white, European, non-racially ethnic at all. Essentially, your response was, “it’s fiction, get over it, stop whining, we don’t care, we are making our movie, our way with our money.”
This is not the first time Hollywood has assigned the roles of non-white characters to white actors. It is, in fact, a long-standing tradition in films that have some type of historical significance that is often misconstrued to erase the very real place people of color have in history. Johnny Depp who is not Native American was cast as “Tonto” in 2013’s The Lone Ranger; Natalie Wood played the Puerto Rican character Maria in 1961’s West Side Story; and in 1963, Elizabeth Taylor was infamously cast as Cleopatra.
Now that we are on the precipice of the premiere, we see three things happening/happened: Straight Outta Compton shattered every expectation this summer proving that a film with an all black cast and black theme can be highly successful, NBC’s live version of The Wiz is getting a LOT of buzz due to its major star power, and Creed did extremely well this holiday weekend with a black male lead. The latter is what brings us to what appears is a sudden change of heart and a whole lot of fear by producers and all others associated with Gods of Egypt. They are no longer concerned about their money, but OUR money: black money. A portion of over $1.3 trillion in spending they worry they will not get if we boycott this film.
In recent statements published Saturday by CNN, director Alex Proyas has finally responded to months of complaints, including a Black Twitter dragging with this statement: “it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse.”
More diverse? Really. So you are just going to “my bad” your way out of this? How do I shade thee? Let me count the ways! Honestly, there’s not even enough greenery on this earth for the amount of shade this deserves, so I will defer to black twitter and other director in Hollywood, like Ana DuVernay, who are responding to this half-baked excuse of nothingness. They’ve got shade and then some. On Saturday, Duvernay tweeted, in part, “Makes me cheer more for Coogler’s CREED.” Touche! You can read more about how Black Twitter chopped this apology up here.