A production backed by some of the best Black talent in the business is guilty of racial insensitivity. A casting notice for the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton has caused outrage for seeking girls with "medium to dark skin tone" who are "not in good shape" to play impoverished extras in the film.
The casting notice, which has been taken down but can be seen on Gawker, also calls for "light-skinned, Beyoncé types" to play models. Here's the complete memo:
A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair — no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30.
B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30.
C GIRLS: These are African-American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30.
D GIRLS: These are African-American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30.
Understandably, the delineation of "A Girls" to "D Girls," light-skinned to dark-skinned, has angered many and throws a harsh light on Hollywood's — and society's — preference for lighter shades.
The producers of Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube and Will Packer, and the film's director F. Gary Gray, have yet to comment on the controversy.
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