Despite the early Oscar buzz given to Angelina Jolie for her portrayal of Mariane Pearl in the new film “A Mighty Heart,” and the complete blessing of Pearl herself, folks continue to criticize the film for casting a white actress the role of someone with Afro Cuban/Dutch ancestry. To portray Pearl, Jolie covered her blue/gray eyes with brown colored contacts and wore a tight, curly wig that resembles Pearl’s hair style and texture. There were also reports that a make-up artist used a spray-tan to darken Jolie’s skin.
According to Huffington Post, criticism has ranged from “It rubs me wrong” to it being a “new generation of Hollywood in blackface.” Blogger Lauren Williams of Stereohyped.com echoes the blackface allegations in a recent Washington Post article on the subject. “It irks me to see her in the makeup and the hair,” Williams said. “Every fall, you hear about how on some college campus, white kids are having a pimps-and-hos party and painting their faces. People are ignoring that this is a very painful part of America’s past.”
Jolie addressed the casting concerns during a press junket for the film, stating the following:
“The idea is, if you ask Mariane, because she did address that, and if you did actually want to find somebody that was her exact makeup, she’s actually majority Dutch, and she’s as black as she is Chinese, and she’s Cuban, and she’s French. So, it could have gone to many different racial backgrounds, probably, if you went technical on it. And that, you know, is a reality. At the same time, to her, the importance was the essence of her spiritually, and I think that was what mattered and I think that is a question to ask her. But no, if you break down the DNA, it’s very complex.”