Pearl-clutching Time: Black Actors in “White” Roles

6. Will Smith, Suicide Squad (2016)


Let’s end this on a positive point. No one really loses their mind when it comes to Will Smith starring in a new movie, and luckily, that was the case in this example of a Black actor taking over a so-called White role. Another upcoming comic book film coming out next year stars both Viola Davis and Will Smith in Suicide Squad. Smith plays Deadshot, a traditionally White assassin from the DC Comics. But if you look for backlash on Smith being cast in that lead role, you don’t find much. Could it be because Will Smith is a household name across all audiences, be it White or Black? (Answer key: Yes.) He’s one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and most people are excited to see him in whatever role he takes on. The movie has garnered a lot of positive buzz with its first trailer. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Credit: Jessica Wenck


Jessica Wenck is a writer and multimedia journalist who has been featured in publications including, The Press Enterprise and  She is addicted to coffee and is an entertainment junkie with a specialty in TV and film.  Follow her on Twitter.

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