It’s a hard-knock life for hate-spewing racists.
Quvenzhané Wallis, the beautiful young actress nominated for an Oscar for her work in Beasts of the Southern Wild, stars as Annie in a remake produced by James Lassiter, Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith and Will Gluck that’s set for a Christmas release this year.
Here’s the fairly cute trailer:
So did racist adults ignore this upcoming children’s movie as irrelevant to their lives and refuse to get upset about it? Did they pause to consider the hypocrisy of being angry about a black actor in what was originally a white role when they don’t care about whites having been cast as characters originally written as (or actually were in real life) people of color roughly a bazillion times?
Of course not. They had to take time out of their busy schedules to tweet stuff like this:
“They turned Annie black. I don’t have a problem with black people, I have a problem with a non-ginger Annie.”
“They made a n****r Annie. Why.”
“They’re redoing the Annie movie and making the little girl black. The fuck gonna be going on next a black snow white???”
“Annie is not black people she’s white get real!!! Stop remaking old classics into something new. F&*k you.”
“This is racist…Annie was a lil white red head…this is just a slap in the face…its like making a movie about 2pacs death and making him a white guy…horrible.”
“Why does Hollyweird have to remake every movie with n****s…??
Here is one of the dumbest (and most hilarious) defenses of the anti-new-Annie racists:
“I do not fault those who are bothered by this, because their complaining has everything to do with the aesthetic tradition of the character, and nothing to do with ethnicity. They’d complain if you made her blonde, or put her in the wrong dress.”
Um, no they wouldn’t. Not with this kind of crazed Twitter fervor, at any rate.
At first, I told myself not to write about this because these people are obviously the bottom feeders of the Internet and their despicable little thoughts do not deserve another millimeter of cyberspace. But I was so appalled about the venom directed at a friggin little kid that I thought, maybe somehow, someone somewhere would read this and think, “Gee, maybe it is kind of asinine to get so upset about the casting in a fourth version of a dumb kids’ movie!”
But of course I’m not holding my breath on that one.
It’s also worth pointing out that a black actress in the role of little orphan Annie makes perfectly good sense in an updated version, even if a cute, talented little girl in the role isn’t enough reason for them. Annie first appeared sans pupils in a black and white newspaper comic in 1924, and no one has ever expressed outrage when human actresses with pupils were cast in the role.
Annie’s race had nothing to do with her character, but it has been argued that her hair color did. Negative stereotypes from the 19th century still lingered in the early part of the 20th century that red hair was undesirable (likely because it was associated with the Irish, who begun flooding U.S. cities in the mid-1800s and were roundly unwelcomed and despised). Redheads were associated with fiery tempers and “wickedness.” Therefore, Annie’s red hair served to marginalize her in a way that made her more vulnerable as a character in 1924 but would be anachronistic today.
When the first film version of Annie was released, it was 1932 and nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population was white, according to Census figures. There are a great many more African Americans in this country today (duh). Furthermore, in New York City, where this version takes place, 56 percent of foster kids are African American (nationwide, it’s 27 percent), according to 2006 figures, compared to 4 percent each of Asian and white children.
None of these supposed Annie purists on Twitter and YouTube are complaining that the conservative politics of Annie’s creator, Harold Gray, haven’t been included in the plot of the Broadway or various movie versions of Annie. Gray was criticized for using his extremely popular comic strip as a vehicle to condemn President Roosevelt’s New Deal, for example, and lecture the poor about the importance of hard work during the height of the Great Depression.
Black Annie critics compare this travesty to a white actor playing Martin Luther King Jr. or Anne Frank in a biopic and one likened it to seeing Roots with an all-white cast.
Do we have to point out the difference between comic book characters and historical figures?
So let’s move on to address the supposed rampant trend of black actors usurping roles in beloved white stories when in reality, the list of white actors portraying nonwhites in film laughably outnumber them. Here is just a smattering of them (Read more about many of them in this Complex story):
—Birth of a Nation (had actual blacks in it working in background, but anyone with an actual role to play was a white actor in blackface)
–The Good Earth
–A Touch of Evil
–West Side Story
–Breakfast at Tiffany’s
–A Beautiful Mind
–30 Days of Night
–A Mighty Heart
–The Lone Ranger
–Pay It Forward
–The Hunger Games
–9 million movies about Jesus
I could name at least half of those off the top of my head.
But black remakes of traditionally white movies, off the top of my head?
–Cinderella (starring Brandy and Whitney Houston)
–The Nutty Professor
See how silly you are, racists? Does it really seem like The Wiz set a dangerous precedent that is killing your culture?
Why, yes, says this crazy person, who came up with a lengthy list of dumb comedies that he or she claims is the ‘rape of white culture’ by casting black actors in “re-imaginings.” Yes, someone actually started a petition about this terrible scourge of black people playing roles that rightfully should be cast until endtimes by whites. No, really! And they have collected a whopping 88 signatures. It reads:
To Hollywood: Stop Remaking White Movies / TV Shows With Black Actors
What is currently going on with remaking classic television and movies known for white characters is absolute disrespect and racism against the original production.
It is the rape of white culture inserting a culture that never belonged and does not belong. The integrity of the original shows must be protected and not be open to a cultural attack and a resistence must be formed to prevent all of white culture being desecrated. Black culture appears to be determined to never stop until they have black remakes of every last white movie or TV show, while whites are unallowed to remake black movies or TV shows with white actors since that would be considered racist. What is happening now is racist and it must be stopped or white culture won’t have nothing left that wasn’t raped by the black.
We can no longer sit quiet and powerless against the invasion of what we cherish in our hearts. I want this petition to ultimately prevent the remaking of white movies with black actors and ban all the remakes that were released and in production.
Here are examples of what must be banned for it’s racism against the original white performers:
Johnson Family Vacation
Back To School
The Nutty Professor
Regarding the current Annie crisis, John Prager hilariously wrote for Americans Against the Tea Party:
“Obviously, this is yet another example of the ‘PC’ crowd’s attempts to marginalize the white race while promoting socialist multiculturalism as part of their never-ending Communist mission to use gay marriage and race mixing in order to kill Jesus because he knows too much about Benghazi. It’s the only thing that makes sense!”
In a story about last month’s racial casting uproar regarding black actor Michael B. Jordan’s casting as blue-eyed blond Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four, Gina Luttrelli pointed out, “The erasure of people of color from cinema has been so widespread, even in recent years, from roles that are originally supposed to be be played by them, that it has done damage to those groups. It’s time to start rebuilding after that damage. Adding a person of color in a role that was originally written as white is not harmful when doing so doesn’t make a difference to the character’s arc, and it can also make a big difference in the portrayal of people of color in the media.”
I would add, why the fuck not? Why not make the movie with black actors in the main roles, especially when Wallis’s portrayal seems much less annoying than the ’80s movie Annie I’ve failed to block out from childhood?
As one of the more reasonable people posted on Twitter, “No amount of backlash can trump a young girl seeing a black #Annie and feeling, briefly, at home in her skin. #Representation is everything.”
In a Twitter epilogue to the Annie story, several of the racists tweeting insults about Wallis’s casting were shamed off Twitter, Hip Hop Wired reports.
Hurray for happy endings.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.