Dear Joseph Fiennes,
On January 27, news travelled online that you were cast to play Michael Jackson. I have now had time to think about it. And I want to say: thank you.
Thank you for not thinking twice; thank you for apparently not reading the news about your own industry. Thank you for ignoring what is going on social networks. Thank you for not having the terms ‘black face’ or ‘whitewashing’ in your vocabulary; thank you for not reading a-ny-thing about #OscarsSoWhite. If you did hear or read about it, thank you for failing to understand the point.
Thank you for being yet another white actor who fails to check his privilege.
Thank you for confirming many things that have been pointed out before whether through #OscarsSoWhite or other denunciations of whitewashing in cinema. Thank you for being yet another white actor who fails to check his privilege. Thank you for your lack of support to all attempts to make cinema more fairly representative of the world in which we live.
Thank you for calling this a ‘challenge’ for you, I can’t imagine what it must be for… the Jackson family, for instance, to see a white man impersonate their – let’s not forget – loved one who was black – let’s not forget that either. Thank you for pointing out that your skin tone is closer to Michael Jackson’s when he passed away; thank you for being yet another person who only sees race as a matter of skin tone and not a social construct.
Thank you for admitting that you were ‘shocked’ to have been cast. Thank you for making it about yourself; it’s often the best way to react. Thank you for being ‘shocked’, actually. Thank you for letting the state of shock help you make up your mind. Thank you for the shock you gave me; I did not see it coming. Thank you for missing out on being an ally.
Thank you for appropriating this role; thank you for playing black.
Thank you for trying to minimise the role you are about to play. Thank you for not understanding the signification of Michael Jackson as an icon. Thank you for appropriating this role; thank you for playing black. Thank you for taking a role that a black actor should have played. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Of course, all the credit should not go to you. I would also like to thank the people who cast you. Thank you, Sky Arts, for making myself wonder what goes on in your meeting. Thank you for being so clueless. Thank you for sending out the message that a black man was not worthy of playing a black icon for the world to see.
A Michael Jackson Fan