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4 Successful “Wokewashed” TV Shows and Movies

Whitewashing is when white actors are cast as non-white characters, and it’s been an issue in Hollywood for decades. Now, studios are seeing box office success by doing the opposite — known as "wokewashing."

Toxicity of Hollywood whitewashing

Whitewashing — casting white actors in roles meant for non-white characters — has been an issue in Hollywood for decades. But here are X times Hollywood did the opposite and it worked out just fine.

Aquaman

Prior to the 2018’s Aquaman, the nautical superhero was portrayed as a blonde white man. In 2014, Jason Momoa was cast in the titular role. He’s of Native Hawaiian descent and committed to incorporating elements of Polynesian culture and mythology to the role. The blockbuster’s gross. $1.1 billion.

Quantico

The FBI thriller Quantico received praise by critics for its acting — especially by the TV series’ lead, Priyanka Chopra. The role of her character Alex Parrish was initially intended to be white and only a secondary character. Chopra signed on to change the perceptions of South Asian representation in media and became the first South Asian actor to lead an American network drama, she won 2 People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Actress.

Dr. Who

The BBC’s Dr. Who began in 1963 and has featured 13 actors in the titular role. Despite online backlash to having a female lead, in 2017, Jodie Whittaker was cast in the role to high praise from critics and former actors who had played the Doctor.

Spider-Man

In the Spider-Man universe, Spidey’s love interest Mary-Jane Watson is typically a white woman with red hair. But in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, African-American singer and actress Zendaya plays “MJ,”a re-imagining of the character. In addition to receiving praise for her interpretation of the role, the films grossed a combined $2 billion.

The onus should be on those making the movie and casting the characters, but most Hollywood productions are still being made by the same people who thought nothing of whitewashing in the first place.

Brut.

09/13/2019 10:19 AM
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217 comments

  • Al S.
    10/31/2019 23:53

    That MJ isn’t Mary Jane Watson.

  • Brian S.
    10/31/2019 02:10

    It should be noted that while critics liked Jodie in Dr. Who, and the ratings for the first 4 episodes were high. By the end of the season. Ratings had dropped to the lowest point in the rebooted dr. Who. And the numbers are similar to during the writers strike in the last year of the original run.

  • Jordan F.
    10/30/2019 10:23

    Pretty dumb article all in all

  • Ryan M.
    10/29/2019 15:37

    When you buy the rights to something then you can do what you want with that property.

  • Joseph T.
    10/29/2019 09:53

    Whitewashing...only made up in America when people from other countries with those cultures the actors are acting like...complain. Awesome

  • Elijah B.
    10/27/2019 20:57

    Whittaker and zendya don't count. One is white and the other isn't the same character as the comics...

  • Jeremy B.
    10/27/2019 13:04

    Yeah sorry... this boils down to numbers. Statistically more talented actors exist that might not be the ideal race for the role (but let’s be honest... this is about entertainment, not documentaries) than there are talented actors that are the ideal race. And another fact about numbers... money talks... Hollywood is in the business of turning profits not losses. The “whitewashing” discussion shouldn’t end there. I’ve also heard the LGBTQ community gripe that straight actors are portraying gay or transgendered characters. Again... numbers. If there is as talented an actor as Hollywood’s finest who is in fact gay or transgendered.. knock yourself out and cast them! But again... we want aren’t buying tickets to a documentary. It’s entertainment.

  • Dylan M.
    10/26/2019 14:25

    So it only ok when you replace a white character with a non white character

  • Dustin S.
    10/26/2019 05:26

    Like how they complain about whitewashing roles, yet when they cast blacks or other minorities in white rolls it's not 'blackwashing' but 'inclusive' *cough*littlemermaid*cough*

  • Angel R.
    10/26/2019 04:42

    those movies are all fiction and the can change them. shut the hell up!!!!

  • Jared A.
    10/26/2019 03:41

    Propaganda

  • Matthew J.
    10/26/2019 03:19

    Oh another “sponsored” ad from Facebook. How cute.

  • Corey Z.
    10/25/2019 19:09

    Wait wut?

  • John W.
    10/25/2019 04:09

    Hypocritical

  • Christopher F.
    10/25/2019 02:29

    Don’t be hypocrites. You can cast anyone as anything or you can stick to only casting biased on race but don’t say it’s okay for some races to do it and not others.

  • Shannon P.
    10/24/2019 20:45

    GHOST IN THE SHELL WAS NOT WHITE WASHING!! Masimune Shirow, the creator of GitS, has been on record saying Major Kusanagi was never intended to be Asian and, in fact, praised the filmmakers casting of Scarlett Johansson. Facts people...

  • Weston L.
    10/24/2019 17:13

    It’s hilarious that they show a clip of Cleopatra, when she was of Greek descent

  • Paul N.
    10/24/2019 02:56

    Yup, lets just keep everything about race and gender to keep the masses fighting amongst themselves.

  • John M.
    10/23/2019 19:53

    also, Motoko from Ghost in The Shell isn't any race. she's an android. Try again.

  • Anthony S.
    10/23/2019 13:38

    Dont forget starfire. Tbh when titans first came out i hated the cast except beastboy and robin. But starfire and raven grew on me.