|16-Year-Old Girl's Response to Straight Outta Compton' Casting Call
Many of you may have heard about the NWA: Straight Outta Compton movie casting call from last July. The criteria for the roles were sexist and racist among many things. It raised some eyebrows and blood pressures. When I read the casting call, I quickly dismissed it as plain nonsense. Yesterday, my 16-year-old niece, J.T. sent me a response that I couldn't have said better, myself. Here is her response:
Hello everyone! A few months ago I heard about the casting requirements for the upcoming movie Straight Outta Compton, based on the group NWA. When I read the casting call, I was absolutely shocked by the criteria designed for the actors. Coming from a blended family, race never really occurred to me and it was stressed that everyone, no matter the color, was beautiful. Wanting a certain look for a character or group of characters is expected, but the requirements related to each “rank” is absurd. The fact women are sorted out by rank is disgusting in itself and where the entirety of the racism debate lies.
First is the A rank. All races are included here, so good job casting agents, but remember the “hottest of the hottest” detail for later. Once at the B rank, things get messy. Girls in this category “should” be light-skinned. Beyonce is used as an example for this category. This suggests only light-skinned people can be “fine”. In my eyes, everyone is beautiful. This may sound like a cliché, but for me, the personality is what kills it for a person, not color. What one person finds pleasing does not apply to everyone and using the age old stereotype that lighter-skinned people are more beautiful is terrible. C girls are reserved for African Americans, medium to light, with weaves. Apparently, to this agency, weaves automatically lower your beauty. Finally, we reach the rank of D. This category is exclusively restricted to medium to dark skinned women, suggesting these skin tones cannot be beautiful once again.
Whoever wrote this casting call was clearly trying to appeal to this warped perception of beauty far too many people still rely on. Stereotypes should be a thing of the past by this point. Beauty standards are already atrocious as it is and publications like this just make it worse. Change starts within oneself. You may be thinking, “maybe they did not intend the letter grades as ranks,” but if this were the case, why have letter grades at all? Why can’t we lower the beauty standard to accommodate everyone? Everyone I have shown the casting call to immediately looks mortified. Blatant displays of racism should not be tolerated towards any race. -J.T.
J.T. is a student from N.J. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, drawing, and making people laugh.