The Apostle John may be black now, but I don’t think Hollywood can truly claim to be colorblind until Branagh plays Martin Luther King, Jr., Jet Li plays Nelson Mandela, and an Esquimaux plays Othello.
From Idris Elba’s gritty portrayal of London detective John Luther, to Dennis Haysbert’s calm, cool and collected President Palmer in “24″ (oh, to have a black president like THAT!), to Denzell Washington and Morgan Freeman in just about any role, black actors have enriched the big and small screens, adding richness, humor, depth and, well, color to our entertainment experience.
So why did I cringe a little when I first saw Gambian actor Babou Ceesay as the Apostle John and Chinese/Zimbabwean actress Chipo Chung as Mary Magdalene standing beside the mother of Jesus during Sunday’s NBC broadcast of the first episode of “A.D. The Bible Continues”? Did my inherent, inborn “racism” as a Southern white dude (go ahead, insert your favorite toothless, ignorant redneck joke here) finally subconsciously kick in, robbing me of the rich, diverse, multicultural experience the filmmakers were obviously trying to bring me with their forward-thinking casting?
Why must every historical movie these days, particularly those that deal with biblical topics, be subjected to a diversity “litmus test”? With apologies to Afrocentrists everywhere (OK, not really), while it’s possible there were black people in the vicinity of Judea during the time of Christ, there is no way, absolutely no way, John the Apostle was black. No serious historian believes this.
Of course, by then, the SJWs will be demanding that Whoopi Goldberg play Romeo. Because transist.