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

September 26, 2012  |  
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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
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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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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