I know this will be a sticky discussion, Clutchettes and Gents, so before we even begin, let’s get one thing straight: We need to respect each other. We’re all grown and intelligent, so in order for us to have an actual discussion and not a virtual yelling match, treat each commenter respectfully. Cool? Cool!

Recently, Jasmine Guy and Juliette Fairley had some interesting things to say about biracial actors and actresses: they need more roles.

At the premiere of Fairley’s new film series, The Mulatto Saga (more details on Shadow & Act), the filmmaker explained her position: “There’s a lack of roles in Hollywood for bi-racial women. So, I create my own content that I star in and in the process I create work for other actors of all races, genders and nationalities.”

While I think all actors of color are often times passed over, in my opinion biracial actors aren’t having a significantly tougher time than black, Asian, or Hispanic actors.

But what do you think? Do Fairley and Guy have a point? Is it hard out here for biracial actors?

Sound off! 

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  • Starry

    I don’t have a problem with people who identify as “biracial” wanting to see biracial roles. (Sidenote: Of course people will need to realize that biracial does not just mean black-white, contrary to popular belief. If I’m not mistaken Asian-White actually have the largest population. But I digress…) I don’t have a problem with people wanting some diversity period. I’m not Asian but I think it’d be nice if Asian guys weren’t playing the asexual nerdy or booksmart guy 95% of the time and I think it’d be nice people like Laz Alonso and Gina Torres could actually play a Latino in a while instead of having Hollywood present this very limited image of what Latino looks like.

    But it’s misleading and disingenuous to present the argument about lack of specifically biracial roles without acknowledging that black biracial actors have long made careers off playing Black characters, to the point where in many cases they are strongly preferred for Black roles over non-biracial actors and show no signs or real interest in stopping. Black bi-racial actresses in particular benefit from this, they dominate several types of roles Leads, leading ladies/roles that will likely involve romance, under 27 set, basically anything that isn’t an abused woman, maid, ghetto girl or fat girl. So to say that there’s a lack of roles for bi-racial actresses while overlooking the fact that they essentially “take” roles away from Black actresses in large quantities is a bit hard to swallow. If you want your story told then perhaps you should understand that others would like the same and allow them to portray their roles and experience the same way you would like to portray yours.

    To be clear, I’m not against bi-racial actors playing Black in general. I am against the preferential treatment that unarguably exists, especially on the actresses side. I’m also against the flip-flopping. If you strongly, solely, or primarily identify as bi-racial that’s fine, your identity your choice, but don’t play the Black card in an audition and then turn around and say “I’m bi-racial there aren’t any roles for me.” You can’t have it both ways. If you want to tell and portray your experience then you need to let others tell and portray theirs.

    • Halogen1

      You’ve made some great points. I’m just wondering what your view is when Jewish people play Italian or Anglo characters even though they self-identify as Jewish? Or even when biracial people play only Anglo characters, yet they self-identify as biracial?

      I do agree that there aren’t many specific biracial roles, and that Black roles that are more than stereotypes do go to women who are more obviously mixed than being only Black or close to it. It seems that the world of acting is all about taking the roles that actors can get, even though who they really are may only be variations of or even far from the characters that they play. Even when celebrities endorse low-end products in commercials, it’s the same kind of selling out, as celebs are known for using high-end products and services.

      But I do recall there even being an issue with Black actors in the earlier part of the last century. There was a woman, whose name I can’t remember, who lived in Pasadena and fought hard to get decent roles for Black actresses. She was a maid in a very famous movie with Helen Hayes; she was highly acclaimed for her role. But even then, Black actors settled for parts even though they were not representative of who they really were or what they were fighting for, had gripes against, etc. So it’s another example of people taking what they could get and putting principles aside.

  • kamala

    So….now Jasmine Guy is calling herself biracial? After all of those years of playing a ‘black’ girl….she is now biracial. Wow….Was this her way of thinking back in the 80’s when biracial and/or biracial actriess were getting all of the roles. A different world had three leading actresses that were biracial.