Cannes has just wrapped up another premiere season on the Cote d'Azur and everyone knows by now that Angelina Jolie portrays Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, a movie based on the book by the same name written by Mariane Pearl about her life with her husband, slain journalist Daniel Pearl.
I watched Ann Curry's recent interview with Jolie on Today. Most of the interview was about Jolie's role in A Mighty Heart. That's not news, because Brad and Angelina were two trains on the same track destined to collide in Hollywood heaven. Thus the fact that she is white probably never entered into the equation for Mariane (who wanted Jolie to play the part based on their friendship), Jolie (who seems to love black people), or Brad (who already owned the movie rights).
But after the fact, there now appears to be some uproar among some black women and actresses, especially, asking themselves and asking out loud: "Why has the part of a bi-racial woman gone to a white woman in this day and age?" Just browse a little history — blackface is a Hollywood hallmark.
How did this come to my attention in the first place? Originally, I was planning to do an article about Angelina's American and global appeal. In the process of doing a Google-god consult about her, I happened to come across multiple blogs by black women discussing the Jolie role as Mariane came up in my search. Hmmm, I thought, here's some flack about black. Thus I changed the focus of my article to this controversy instead.
I actually liked the idea when first presented. I thought that it was a good thing to have a really white woman play a black woman. It seemed like a good segue into blind casting. I have always believed, stupidly, in “blind casting”, obviously a pipe dream. At the same time that Jolie is playing Mariane, Halle Berry is playing a white teacher in a new movie. Halle is biracial as everyone knows. However, Angelina is not biracial. So for this role she got herself tanned, donned a wig (bad/nappy, according to the blogs) and faked a French accent and voila, instant Mariane Pearl.
I do think Angelina is beautiful, but black? Give me a break. She does not look black even on her worst day. Then I thought about Jasmine Guy. If she were younger she would be perfect. She's biracial and she speaks French fluently. Traci Ross would also have fit the bill. She is the right age and is also biracial. The list is really endless.