The news of Jodie Turner-Smith portraying Anne Boleyn in a three-part historical drama mini-series has been particularly received with mixed reactions. People against it have been registering their displeasure over a Black actor being cast for the role of a White character.
Queen Boleyn, the 15th-century second wife of King Henry VIII, was executed in 1536 after she was found guilty of treason. And the series at the center of debate chronicles the life of the queen in the weeks prior to her death.
Weighing in on the topic last week was conservative author and commentator Candace Owens. Responding to a Twitter post about what Boleyn actually looked like, Owens said she does not have an issue with the British-Jamaican actress portraying a White character as long as the “radical left” does not complain if it’s the opposite.
“I’m actually totally fine with Jodie Turner playing the role of Anne Boleyn so long as the radical left promises to keep their mouth shut if in the future Henry Caville is selected to play Barack Obama and Rachel McAdams can play Michelle. Not double standards- K?” she posted.
The 32-year-old’s comments were, however, rebuked by a section of users, with one person telling her that her approval isn’t needed. “Candace, can you say anything without right wing propaganda coming out of your mouth ? And hate to break it to you, but your approval isn’t needed on anything,” the user replied to her post.
Other people also pointed out the portrayal of Jesus Christ, with one user telling her the “image, character and role” of the religious leader has actually been portrayed by White people “for the longest time.”
Take a look at more reactions below:
Turner-Smith recently responded to the backlash over her portrayal of Boleyn in an interview with Independent, saying it is “par for the course” as an actor. “At the end of the day, people were always going to feel a certain way about a Black actor playing Anne,” the Queen & Slim star said.
She added: “I think the nuance that people are missing is that historically, people of colour have been erased from stories and thus their humanity has been erased. In this, we’re not erasing white people’s humanity.
“We’re taking race out of the conversation to tell the human story at the centre of it all.
“As a Black artist in general, my main desire is for my humanity to be considered. Not just that I’m a Black woman but that I’m a human having a human experience and existing in a human space.”