This week saw some people questioning typical casting choices for voiceover work.
After some self-reflection, at least two White actresses decided to step down from roles they were cast in. Actresses Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell voiced mixed race characters on Big Mouth and Central Park respectively
Both actresses announced they would no longer play those roles and urged show creators to recast the parts with mixed race or Black actresses.
I don’t watch the show but they had Jenny Slate voice a Black character? No one thought that was weird? pic.twitter.com/YA23CWusvp
— Brittny Pierre (@sleep2dream) June 24, 2020
However, one Twitter user decided to throw James Earl Jones, renowned actor and voice actor, under the bus for his role in Star Wars as the cyborg voice of alien being Darth Vader, whom the user identified as “White” despite Star Wars taking place in a galaxy far, far away.
White actor Hayden Christensen played the pre-cyborg version of Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker.
James earl jones played darth vader a white guy. No one thought it was weird. Uncle phil voice shredder a japanese character no one found it weird? Lmao. Voice actors bring a voice to a character not a race.
— cloudwalker (@cloudwalker08) June 25, 2020
Twitter and Star Wars fans were not having it.
After all, everybody knows that Darth Vader’s voice was the result of his mask and body suit which were keeping him alive.
Otherwise he would have sounded like this:
So, get it together Twitter critic.
He technically that was the computerized voice (episode 3 – scratch that episode 6), his helmet came off and talked in his own voice and saw Luke with his own eyes.
This is getting out of control people.
— Travis Raml, CPA (@RAMLCPA) June 25, 2020
You are simple. He did the voice the mask created.
— 🏳️🌈🇺🇸 🌊Gregory H ✊#𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭✊ (@gregoryh325) June 25, 2020
— Donald Parham (@d_parham) June 25, 2020
It’s about helping fixing the under-representation of Black and minority actors, not palette matching every single voice actor to a character. So yes, James Earl Jones can play the voice of a “white guy” and also yes, Jenny Slate is right to no longer play a Black character.
— Dogmafrog (@Dogmafrog) June 25, 2020
JEJ was chosen because the timber of his voice was what was needed for under the helmet to sound appropriate, not to "match" the Skywalker family voice. Listen to the actor's voice some time. It didn't work as the under the helmet voice. And the actor himself was white
— Sarah (@eletania_) June 25, 2020
Others noted the implicit racism present in our voice-critic friend’s post.
If you don't understand the lack of representation at this point you're either ignorant of racial discourse over the last 200 years or willfully ignorant which doesn't deserve acknowledging.
— Reggie (@mcdonald862) June 25, 2020
White people aren't discriminated against.
— AlanLiskov (@Aliskov) June 25, 2020
White people did everything for a long time, start with that.
Second, your perspective is warped by libertarian ahistorical ideology.
— White Privilege Is Real (@WhitePrivIsReal) June 25, 2020
Representation is key. Using 2 examples when there are 1k’s of examples of white ppl playing non white rolls (voice or in racist makeup) is a disservice to equality. You want to keep the status quo, which is white supremacy leaning.
— Camille Spaulding ⚖️ (@Camillelittlejo) June 25, 2020
You completely missed the point
— ʌǝʞ ɹǝsᴉɐʞ ⓚ (@KKaiser32) June 25, 2020
and yet. . . the race of the voice actor is almost always white. . . huh
— Craxton Banhammer (@moonshatter) June 25, 2020
Black characters are often voiced by White actors in animation.
The exclusion of Black people from even playing characters of their own race is well documented.
Also…. People of color playing white people doesn't have the same long history of discrimination, bigotry, and exclusion
— Popeye Otaku (@everyfan3417) June 25, 2020
This is not radio. Voice actors represent a visual character. The examples that you gave are rare & mean nothing when compared to the dozens of white actors over the years who have voiced characters of color. Actual representation, not just the appearance of it is what matters.
— Lkbolden (@bolden46) June 25, 2020
Voice actors of color in the 80’s and 90’s were fortunate if they even got an audition. Tf. There’s a real world out there buddy. Jenny slate has beeen getting work and is also in multiple movies and animated shows. That shit isn’t the same at all. Foh
— A9BLm0619Ftp (@A9ER) June 25, 2020
Not in the case of "Amos 'n' Andy", an American radio sitcom set in Harlem. The original radio show, which ran from 1928-1960, was created, written and voiced by two white actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, who played Amos Jones (Gosden) and Andrew Hogg Brown (Correll).
— Spoonman (@Stan_Spooner) June 25, 2020
Voice actors bring a lot more to a character than just a voice; suggesting otherwise undersells their craft. If you're sincerely curious, you can get one actor's take in this podcast. https://t.co/UP0C9aepzG
— Ken Gagne (@gamebits) June 25, 2020
In what conceivable way is Darth Vader "a white guy"?
— Sd. (@silassez) June 25, 2020
Jones has not yet commented on someone using him as an example.