Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Easy E — that’s who most people reflect on when they think about 1980’s rap group, N.W.A.
Many feel that “Straight Outta Compton,” the film documenting the group’s rise, got the casting just about right.
Ice Cube is played by his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Dr. Dre is played by Corey Hawkins, and Easy E is played by Jason Mitchell.
But one casting call for the film posted in July last year raised some eyebrows because many thought it to be incredibly racist.
At the time, Sande Alessi Casting posted the notice on several social media platforms in search of different types of women to be extras in the film.
In the post, the company classified the girls they were looking for into four categories: A, B, C, and D girls.
The “A-Girls,” according to the company, are “the hottest of the hottest,” and could be “black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Mid-Eastern, or mixed race too.”
But then, the company got particularly specific about the types of girls it was looking for.
“B-Girls,” as the company described them, were “Fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips.” Skin colour was limited to “light-skinned … Beyonce is a prototype here.”
Further down the list, the casting call got even more selective.
“C-Girls” were described as “African American girls, light-to-medium skin tone with a weave.”
“D-Girls” were to be “African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium-to-dark skin tone.”
The posting was removed from all social media shortly after it was posted. The casting company told Jet Magazine last July that the categorization of the girls “is not by any means a ranking of A is better than B.” Adding, “We obviously don’t want to leave anything up that’s offensive to people.”
The company later said it would use a different method to cast women as extras.
As the film’s release date nears, posts from last July — when the casting call was originally published — have re-surfaced on social media:
Wow! Just wow!! http://t.co/69qOdux1qm
— Empress Lace-I ☥☯ (@LaciSue) August 9, 2015
Universal Pictures, the company that produced the film, slammed the offensive casting call in a statement: “The filmmakers did not approve and do not condone the information in this casting notice,” they said. “We regret and sincerely apologise for being in any way associated with the offensive descriptions it contained.”
Business Insider has reached out to Universal Pictures for comment on how the casting process was changed.
“Straight Outta Compton” is not the first film to be called out for questionably racist casting. But this instance raises questions about where the line is drawn with regard to casting practices.
A casting call for “The Hobbit” in 2010 was panned for requiring potential applicants to have “light skin tones.” The casting agent was fired.
Here’s a transcipt of the entire “Straight Outta Compton” casting call, via Gawker.
“Straight Outta Compton” releases in theatres Friday, August 14.
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