harold-perrineau-320Actor Harold Perrineau (Oz, Sons Of Anarchy) recently penned an open letter to critics suggesting his biracial daughter Aurora isn’t black enough to be portraying an African-American character in the musical fantasy drama film Jem And The Holograms.

In the essay published to The Wrap just before the film’s release, Perrineau wrote “The reason I’m so angry right now (and I’m sure that many people will be able to understand this) is that I feel like my daughter – MY CHILD – is being attacked. She is being harshly and unfairly judged during a time when she should be relishing her accomplishments.” He also added that some people have even gone as far as to suggest the young actress “kill herself” for taking the role.

Aurora Perrineau, 20, plays Shana Elmsford in the film, a brown-skinned African-American character with geometrically flawless purple kinky/curly hair. When news that Harold’s fair-skinned, half white daughter was cast as the group’s only black character last year, numerous people expressed their disappointment and anger over the decision, stating that once again casting directors had “white washed” a black girl with a deep skin tone.

Jem And The Holograms, which hit theaters this past weekend, opened to drastically low numbers. Some say the film flopping is due to its storyline, based on the 1980s television series by the same name – bearing little resemblance to the show fans had grown to love so deeply.

You can read the full version of Harold’s essay over at The Wrap and let us know whether or not you think Aurora was the right fit for the role in the comments below.

Image Credits: Getty Images

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  • It is very clear that Hollywood and the mainstream industry don’t exist in a perfect meritocracy. We know that many biracial people with very light skin have been propped up over many qualified dark-skinned women. Harold Perrineau’s daughter should be called out of her name. Likewise, Harold’s letter omitted a lot of things. It omitted that Dr. Martin Luther King wanted people to be judged by the content of their character, but Dr. King never supported a colorblind ethos which ignores the beauty of Blackness. There is no mystique of post racial views. The reality is that black people are tired of the whitewashing of our images in American society. We are tired of being told to be quite while society continues to perpetrate negatives stereotypes against our people on TV, in films, and in other facets of society. She doesn’t look like Shanna. We have the right to ask question, so Harold’s response totally ignores the point about how the imperfections in Hollywood are beyond individual.

    They are structural. So, while he may be upset at a movie role, he should really be upset that the massive misogynoir, discrimination, police terrorism, and environmental degradation perpetrated by the power structure. Harold made many slick comments about black people in the letter like we have no right to express dissent. Well, we as black people, will express dissent whether folks like it or not. His daughter is a biracial young woman. While she shouldn’t be disrespected, she has many privileges that many dark skinned black people especially don’t have. More and more black people are tired of a system of where our image is whitewashed, demonized, and ignored. This is a new day. I didn’t want to mention the following, yet Let’s go there. He talking about his white wife is irrelevant. This has to do with the policies of entertainment executives and the struggle of black actors and actresses to get even regular roles in movies. That is why black folks are increasingly using independent TV series on the Internet, etc.

    • Noirluv45

      Preach and teach, Truth!

    • Exactly Sister. It is very apparent that the whitewashing of black women from playing many roles (which is wrong) is judging people on the basis on their skin color not on the content of their character.

    • Noirluv45

      So true, Truth. I love how people, just like they do the Bible, pick and choose what quotes they use of MLK. LOL.

    • Certainly Sister. They love to claim that Dr. King was a pacifist clergyman alone. Yet, he was bigger than that. He advocated civil disobedience and he condemned white supremacy by name in public. Dr. King fought against war and he advocated for the poor in radical terms. He called America the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. So, we remember the heroes like Fred Hampton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Robert F. Williams, Ella Baker, and others who spoke out and fought for us literally.

      They can’t stop the shine. We don’t stop because we can’t stop.

    • Noirluv45

      Yes, he most certainly did those things. No, brother. They will NEVER stop the shine. *raising fist in the air like Tommie Smith and John Carlos*

  • Reina Benoir

    Mr. Perrineau’s letter is self-serving. First of all, I don’t believe they’re saying she’s not Black enough, they’re saying she’s not dark enough to play the role. I think that is a distinction Mr. Perrineau declined to acknowledge because it doesn’t serve his purpose of crying foul on behalf of his daughter.

    His letter also smacks of the usual “New Black” fuckery. Tell your own stories? Make your own movies? Not everyone is a movie maker. Maybe they’re just working a 9-5 and want to see people who look like themselves and their children on the screen. To be told “make your own” is some side-stepping bullshit. The question is colorism in how Black women are portrayed. (Because Mr. Perrineau as a man isn’t nearly as affected by it as women are) Instead of saying, “yes colorism is a problem” he’s changing the subject by trying to put it on the people derying colorism rather than the people who are actively engaging in colorism. His daughter is benefiting from colorism so he’s going to pretend that’s not the damn issue and try to change the subject.

    He needs to have several seats.

  • Tonididitonem

    Harold is not her real father apparently. He’s her step dad. Makes sense. She looks nothing like him or her younger siblings. She’s lighter and the younger two daughters look like him and are darker. Plus him and his wife got married in 2002 and aurora was born in 1994. Also some people online have been saying they know her real father and he’s lying. So there.