Wait, How Did You Get That Role? 14 Of The Crappiest Casting Calls in Black Films and TV

September 26, 2012  |  

Source: hbo.com

When it comes to the movies casting is practically everything. Why do you think people are in such a tizzy trying to figure out which actors are going to play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the inevitable “50 Shades of Grey” movie. The chemistry, the delivery, even the associations with a particular actor are all very important. Check out the times when things didn’t go so well.

Source: moviepicturedb.com

Cuba Gooding Jr. Boyz N The Hood

At the end of the day Boyz N The Hood is a classic film. It opened a lot of people’s eyes to the realities of life in the hoods of Los Angeles. But if there was one thing that could have made this great film even better, it would have been casting someone else in Cuba Gooding’s role as “Tre Styles.” Not only was Cuba a full 20 shades lighter than the little boy that played the young Tre, when he had to display real emotion in the movie, his whole air fighting, punching the wall scene was just so unbelievable.

Don’t remember that scene, watch the NSFW video below.

Source: Wenn.com

Sanaa Lathan The Wood

If you ask me The Wood is so underrated. I love a good coming of age story and this one delivers. There was great acting from this ensemble cast, especially from Sean Nelson who played “Young Mike.” The only flaw in this flick was the fact that Sanaa Lathan was cast as the older version of Alicia. Now, if you recall Young Alicia was played by Malinda Williams. Now, not only are Sanaa and Malinda  only five years apart in age; but in what world would Malinda grow up to look like Sanaa? If we’ve learned anything from the Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone controversy, it’s that complexion is important to black folk. They would have been better off casting Malinda as the young and old Alicia.

Source: thestudyofracialism.org

Jennifer Freeman “My Wife and Kids”

I know a lot of black people dug this show but I couldn’t get over the way the kids talked to their parents. It seemed like they let them get away with entirely too much. In addition to all that, Jennifer Freeman, played the role of the oldest daughter Claire was just not a good look for the show. If you remember she was a replacement daughter. I guess the people behind the scenes didn’t consider colorism either because the original Claire, played by Jazz Raycole, was darker complected, intelligent, tough chick and Jennifer was lighter, still smart but super ditzy.


Daphne Reid “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

From the outside looking in, the average viewer couldn’t understand why in the world the folks at “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” would get rid of the original Aunt Viv. It wasn’t until just recently that we found out it was because Janet Hubert just could not get along with anybody– specifically Will. We’ll never know what exactly went down between those two; but for whatever reason, they couldn’t move past the scandal. We wish the cookie had crumbled differently because Janet could act her behind off and was always entertaining to watch. The second Aunt Viv, Daphne Reid, just came in as the underdog. Viewers had already attached themselves to Hubert. And Reid, though she seemed sweet enough, just didn’t quite measure up.

Source: blogs2fun.blogspot.com

Sabrina Le Beauf “The Cosby Show”

Did you ever at one point during the run of “The Cosby Show” ask yourself, why do they have so many kids?! And not why did Cliff and Claire decide to get pregnant so many times; but why did they, Bill Cosby and ‘nem, write so many kids into the script? When there’s too many kids to keep up with, somebody is going to end up being the weakest link. And for the Huxtable family, that person was Sondra. I don’t care what type of story line they wrote for her, she just wasn’t interesting. I mean I know personally, I cared more about hearing what her husband Alvin had to say than I did about her character. Even Olivia (Raven Symone) who was the random daughter of Denise’s future husband and Cousin Pam were more likeable than Sondra. Sad…but very true.

Source: sitcomsonline.com

Ray J “Moesha”

Lawd. “Moesha” was a great show until it wasn’t any more. And if you ask me…and a couple of other folks, that downfall began when Ray J came on the show as cousin “Dorian (D-Money)”. I mean how lame was it to cast Ray J in this already thriving show? We just couldn’t ignore the fact that he was Brandy’s brother–living in her house as her cousin. And then to make matters worse, the plot thickens and we discover *Whoops* Frank slipped up and slipped in and Dorian really is Moesha’s brother. It was kinda wack to say the least and it never should have happened.

Source: sumtinprecious.blogspot.com

Tyler Perry Good Deeds

Now, this is not going to turn into a stone Tyler Perry party. I happen to enjoy quite a few of his movies actually. What I don’t enjoy though, is seeing him in love scenes. And a love scene is exactly what I cringed my way through when he played the lead character, “Wesley Deeds” in Good Deeds. Tyler Wesley had Natalie (Gabrielle Union) pinned up against a rain stained window giving her the “D” and me a headache at the same [damn] time. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, take it from me, that scene ain’t nothin’ nice.

Source: imdb.com

Shemar Moore’s Hair Diary of a Mad Black Woman

I said we weren’t going to stone Tyler Perry; but since we’re on the topic, can we please talk about the foolishness that was atop Shemar Moore’s head in Diary of a Mad Black Woman ?!? It was absolutely atrocious. Shockingly so actually, because usually in his movies Tyler makes sure to light his black subjects nicely. For whatever reason the care didn’t extend to the hair. (Unintentional rhyme.)

Source: aceshowbiz.com

All the Cameos Think Like a Man

Man! If you look at the cast listing for Think Like a Man on IMdB, you might just catch a strong case of carpal tunnel scrolling down the long list of names. There were cameos out the woodwork in this flick, there were times when I felt like I was playing “Where’s Waldo.” I guess everybody wanted to be a part of this hit movie and the casting director just couldn’t say no. There were so many you might not remember them all but let me help you out with this short list:

Sherri Shepard
Kelly Rowland
Keri Hilson
J Anthony Brown
Tony Rock
JB Smoove
Luenell
Melyssa Ford

Now you’ll have to re-watch the movie just so you can see how and where they fit all of these people into a 2 hour movie.

Source: blog.vh1.com

Denise Vasi “Single Ladies”

Now, you’ll have to let me know if you agree with this one or not; because after the first episode of “Single Ladies,” I vowed never to watch it again. I love Queen Latifah’s work but this is just not something I can support. Either way, everyone on the show could use an acting lesson or three; but word on the street is that Denise Vasi, Stacey Dash’s replacement, makes the rest of the women look like Oscar winners. Yikes. Is this true “Single Ladies” watchers, is Vasi really that bad?

Source: allmoviephoto.com

Anybody who tries to do a West Indian accent

If you don’t have a parent who’s from the Caribbean or you’re not a master of languages, then as an actor/actress you should avoid attempting the West Indian accent because it always comes out sounding terrible. Everyone from Shaun Baker, who played the Jamaican born “Russell Montego” in “Living Single,” to Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, had accents on struggle mode.  And don’t be fooled, it’s not just the men either Gabourey Sidibe and Angela Bassett were both tripped up by the tricky accent. Angela Bassett as Vonetta Wallace in Notorious and Gabourey Sidibe in Tower Heist left us wanting.

Source: parentpreviews.com

The Chemistry Just Wright

This movie was a bit of a conundrum for me. I liked Common’s performance. I liked Latifah’s performance; but something about the two of them together didn’t quite click for me. It was almost there but not all the way. The two of them seemed more like good platonic friends than budding lovers. Did anybody else feel that way watching this movie?

Source: the-numbers.com

A Lot of Folk behind Red Tails

Ok…let me qualify this. There was a lot of hype behind Red Tails and George Lucas was directing it, so naturally there were very high expectations. But a quarter of the way into the movie, I realized that the writing was amiss. And when the writing is off, no matter how great the actors are, the message of the movie won’t translate as well. There were times when the dialogue sounded like something out of a comic strip. Not that there weren’t some good performances in this film, there were a few but for the most part, it was a movie that left a lot to be desired…a lot.

Source: tvguide.com

Fantasia Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story 

People clowned my gurl Fanny because she couldn’t act her own story. Now, I don’t know about you but I couldn’t act some of the more trying moments in my life either. Why? Not because, they don’t still elicit some type of emotion but because I’m nobody’s actress. And neither is/was Fanny at the time she did that movie. Lifetime and Fanny should have requested that they hire someone for this story.

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  • Dreen

    #12 is the truth

  • PleaseDOBetter

    Just Wright was horribly written. It didn’t matter about the acting. When a movie has a line stating the movie title, you know it is a flop.

  • GloriaGovansStretchMarks

    I guess it was THAT bad that i blocked out the memory of Tyler and Gabby! i dont even remember it in the movie! and yes, the wig in DOAMBW was to take your mind off the fact that Shemar can NOT act! and NOTHING, i mean NOTHING good comes of anything that Ray J is associated with…

  • WestIndianGyal

    Are there really no Caribbean actors out there?

  • truthHURTS

    I could have brought that chemistry to the set of Just Wright. Common is fine. Queen ain’t about that life….ijs

  • Solo40

    AJ389 is right, the director commentary does state that Tupac turned the role down.

  • bigdawgman

    Sorry, but I liked the 2nd mom better on Fresh Prince. Much hotter, and if you look at the family, she actually looked more like the rest of them (especially her sister). Janet is probably a better actress though, but she should have remember what the title of the show was. #ITSNOTABOUTYOU

  • C

    *DEAD* @ accents on “struggle mode”. The guy from Living Single was OK.

  • lenabugg

    Tee Hee Hee…Shemar’s hair in that movie made me loathe him to this day…I was upset about that for a long time after seeing that movie–no one on the set noticed? And…Madea getting it in? Yuk. As far as intimate scenes go, Queen Latifah and Tyler Perry should have reversed characters–keep it real. I don’t care for Cuba Gooding in ANYTHING! He is terrible, boring and always has that stupid look on his face.

  • i cant even finish this article i am laughing too hard at tyler perry giving the D to gabrielle union and shamar moore’s hairrrr ah hahahaha who ever wrote this is hysterical.

  • Jaleesa

    I agree with Queen (King) Latifah and Common. All of their scenes made me uncomfortable. Clearly Queen (KIng) was more attracted to Paula Patton

  • wepo1

    All the roles black women play are propaganda!

  • pure_igenue

    That picture of Fantasia with that little girl on her lap is cracking me up…she’s looking straight into Fanny’s mouth like she needs to close it!

  • ej1988

    Leave Cuba alone!

  • AJ389

    If you actually watch the dvd director commentary, John Singleton says he turned it down, he was killed weeks later.

  • AJ389

    If you actually watch the dvd with director commentary, John Singleton says Tupac turned it down.

  • LMAO… I cracked up at this whole list, but it’s so true!!

  • kierah

    Sondra’s character was an afterthought on the show and it showed. Originally the Huxtables only had 4 children (they say that in the pilot). We didn’t even get to see the drama behind planning an Huxtable wedding for her.
    I saw an interview with Sabrina near the end of the show’s run and she teared up about wanted more opportunities on the show.

  • I’m having a hard time even going through this list when the first thing that pops up is Cuba Gooding Jr. in what I believe was a good performance. Even in hindsight.

  • kansasfan

    As someone who does actually watch Single Ladies (I know I’m cringing too). Denise Vasi is HORRIBLE! For Real…Not only could she use an acting lesson, but maybe a groupon of acting lessons may do the trick. Not to be mean but for real though. Not only did the hair stylist need to be given their walking papers but so did half of the cast (the men actually did amazing!). And the problem that I have with it is they billed it up to be the “women of color version of Sex and the City”, which only irritates me more! I love me some Carrie!

    • Peep

      Yeah they would have done better without comparing it to a show with a cult-like following. Now people are looking at Single Ladies like Wha???
      If they cast wasn’t so pretty, I doubt that I would ever watch the show. Denise is gorgeous but she is too stiff and fake. Now it makes me curious to see what she was like on that soap opera for all those years… and yes, honey, that hair has been a mess lately. Weave looks terrible if it doesn’t look natural.

    • oscardgrouch

      I actually like Denise Varsi better than Stacey Dash and that horrible acting Lisa Raye. LisaRaye is the worst. The best things about Single Ladies are the storylines and the men.

  • DILLIGAF98

    OMG! I was just telling someone yesterday how overrated I thought Cuba Gooding was and I used that exact scene as an example. I would honestly rather watch his brother who gets no real recognition but I loved him in Baby Boy.

  • baddvixentype

    yes Denise Vasi is horrible! after epidsoe 1 of season 2 i threw the d#mn remote away lol

  • Observing

    I do not watch black TV shows or movies. They’re the worst. Seen one seen them all.

    • TheLovliest…

      Oh, be quiet.

    • Ms. Chocolate

      Yet your on a Black Entertainment Blog taking time to comment about Black Shows….. Yeah ..

  • Love The Wood, but never understood the Melinda Sanaa thing.

  • Mel

    It felt like ALL of Black Hollywood was so grateful to have a good Black movie that they wanted to be in “Think Like a Man”. It was a really good one too, until they let Wendy Williams’ non acting behind steal the light. She felt SO out of place, just loud to be loud. I know it was supposed to funny, but it wasn’t (for me).

    As for Single Ladies, they should have kept Stacey Dash and let Lisa Ray go, IMHO. And finally, I TOTALLY agree on the West Indian accents! the only show that had good ones was the Cosby show, and that’s because those people REALLY had WI background.

    Btw-I always liked Sondra. She was the quiet one, and every family has one of those. Can’t have everyone being loud and extroverted…then there’s no shading.

    • NSimonefan

      Don’t forget about Nephew Tommy in Think Like A Man, also, LOL. Nephew Tommy is Steve Harvey’s Nephew. Stacey Dash was let go because she had a bad attitude. Wendy Williams manly tranny looking behind was such a distraction that people were yelling “man” and “ewww” when she first appeared on the screen when I saw it in the theater.

    • sista2sista

      am I the only one who remembers Sondra wasn’t even in the pilot of the Cosby show? she was added later, well into the show. and although i liked Lisa Bonet, why isn’t she on this list when you reference color? no way she could have been Cliff & Claire’s kid.

  • classyblklady1979

    LMBOOOOOOOOOOOOO<============= Shemar Moore’s Hair Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Tyler Perry love scene in Good Deeds was so on point too

  • Negress

    “Fanny” did not have to act for that role. All she needed to say was, “Tinaaaaay!” You know why the chemistry in Just Wright wasn’t just wright the same reason the deed in Good Deeds rubbed you the wrong way.

    • B Cooper

      You are so right! LOL I think the roles should have been switched in both movies. Paula Patton should have played the lead and Brian White should have played Wesley Deeds. To be honest neither movies really needed Queen or Tyler.

      • A_Goddess

        Paula Patton annoys me. I’ve yet to see her in anything where I like her.

  • AJ389

    I totally agree and have a couple of my own. Joy Bryant in Get Rich Or……., Christopher B. Duncan in Original Gangsters and Moses Gun on Goodtimes.

    Just for trivial fun, Lawrence Fishburne auditioned to play Michael, but Ralph Carter got the role, Whitney Houston originally won the role of Denise on the Cosby Show but withdrew before filming choosing to sing instead. Originally, the role of Tashaun in Set It Off was offered to Brandy but she turned it down and so did Tupac for the role of Jody in Baby Boy.

    • DILLIGAF98

      Actually I think Tupac was killed and production was suspended. I don’t think he turned the role down.

      • toya

        Yep, that’s where the big Tupac poster in Jody’s room stems from, it’s an homage..

  • Several Seats Taken.

    What? I thought Russel from Living Single was spot on. I actually had no idea that he did not have a real accent. It was convincing to me and I’m actually of Caribbean descent. Maybe it’s cause I’m not Jamaican? I dunno.

  • Natalie

    When the serious scene comes on and Tre is mad and fighting the air, I know it ain’t right, because it’s a serious matter, but I was dying laughing! That isht was hella funny!

    • bigdawgman

      And it was so obvious what was going to happen. I told my gf at the time when that scene came on, “Watch, he’s going to get some now.” She was like “You don’t know what you’re talking about… d0mn!”

  • JLJ

    Maybe Fannie would have done better if she could read the script…I’m not right

    • NSimonefan

      I agree with the list except Fantasia. Seriously, I think she did a good acting job.

      • what?!!!? were u drunk while watching it?

        • NSimonefan

          No I wasn’t, fool.

  • IllyPhilly

    LMAO @ Sandra part. Even though it’s ignorant I swear I always thought they brought her in to counter Denise out of place self. Somebody made a joke about it on a cartoon.

  • JLJ

    UHHH THE CLIP OF “TRE” WAS NOT AFTER FINDING OUT RICKEY WAS KILLED IT WAS AFTER HE HAD THE RUN IN WITH THE SELF-HATING BLACK COP.

  • msgeegee

    LMAO @”the foolishness that was atop Shemar Moore’s head”

  • Suchalady

    Ugghhh, this! All of it. Original Aunt Viv will forever slay, whoever thought Sanaa Lathan could play an adult version of Melinda Williams should be beaten, and Tyler Perry love scenes make me cringe.

  • YES on Shamar Moore’s hair. Good Lord, who allowed that to be OK?
    YES on Tyler Perry giving the business to Gabrielle Union. Highly unbelievable scenario given that 99% of Hollywood thinks the man is gay, including myself. Not hating, but hard to imagine Mr. Perry smashing anything with a vagina.
    And YES on Denise Vasi. She’s just a terrible actress. Very pretty, but absolutely terrible.

  • dbatt001

    that casting blunder from fresh prince was a travesty
    Shemar Moore’s hair…dead!

  • Kay

    Ray J’s Breast milk deprived tail never shouldve been in
    Moesha!Brandy should’ve
    gave him the boot way back
    then! Ruined a good show.
    Just this summer I was
    watching some reruns and I
    realized that long befor ” D-
    money”*side-eye* ray j had
    like 10 cameos as different
    random dudes through out the seasons… Dude is a professional coattail rider..

    • Ms. Chocolate

      Wow, so Brandy wasn’t supposed to look out for her brother and give him a job?

      • Kay

        Yes and no. Yes she could’ve looked out for him butane gave him a part but not the main wack asss part he did have that made no sense and helped ruin the show

    • C

      While I’m sure Brandy was just looking out for her little brother, which anyone who has followed her career knows she always does– I’m gonna agree. Moesha was one of my favorite shows and it got so corny when he was on there. By that point the show was winding down anyway, but I agree.

  • Danes

    Ray J should have never been casted in Moesha. Imma need for him to stop riding his sister’s coat tails or piggy backing off some other women’s fame, i.e. Whitney Houston, Kim K.

    • DILLIGAF98

      I agreed all the way up to Kim K. I think she’s actually only famous because of him.

      • Peep

        Yeah but it’s funny how she’s now more rich and famous than he is. It’s all about your hustle and he doesn’t seem to have any. Nobody is checking for Ray-J. Period. lol

  • FAMURattler85

    While Tyler Perry’s, ummm, unholy scenes made me quite uncomfortable, I still loved him as Wesley Deeds. I’m a huge fan of Single Ladies and was skeptical when Denise Vasi came in but she doesn’t really bother me. LisaRaye takes the cake for bad acting on that show but I love me some Keisha and Malcolm.

    • sista2sista

      malcolm is the worst actor on the show

  • clove8canela

    Totally agree with this list, especially aunt viv, sondra and shemar moores hair. I remember seeing the commercials for that movie not being able to understand what was going on up there.

  • Reese

    I totally agree with this list. I rented Good Deeds from RedBox a few months ago and that “love” scene made me cringe. I do not understand why Tyler Perry insists on being front and center in all of his movies.

  • SickOf Ridiculous

    I agree with the author regarding the addition of the Vasi chick to the cast of “Single Ladies”. As if LisaRaye’s “Playa’s Club” Diamond-esque acting wasn’t horrible enough on its own.

    • bigdawgman

      Nobody on that show can act! I don’t care how fine they are, I just couldn’t watch it anymore. Vasi is actually not as bad as the original girl. And the temporary guys they get for the love interests are THE WORST! You can tell some of them are reading the scripts off-screen. The casting director needs to be fired ASAP! And get rid of the writers too…oops! That’s the creator. Good concept of the show, but terrible execution!

    • Like the author of the article, I too could not make and assessment about them adding this Vasi lady to the cast of “Single Ladies” since I thought the acting in the first episode was hoe-damned-rific enough that I NEVER watched another episode.