Actress Anna Diop revealed in a DC FanDome event that she had received a lot of backlash for being cast as Starfire in Netflix’s Titans. Many black actors took part in the event to discuss the difficulties they faced and the lack of representation. It was also discussed how important it was for actors of color in lead roles in superhero movies as per The Sun
Anna states, “There was a lot of backlash because some people were upset that it was a Black woman that they cast. And I had to lean into my friends and my family and my faith in a way that I haven’t really had to do before.”
She further opened up and said, “But, it’s incredible to see what that meant for a lot of people, a lot of marginalized people reached out to me, be it Black or gay or trans or whatever, and it’s incredible to be even some small inspiration for them.”
she’s starfire. anna diop is starfire. starfire is played by a black woman. in many comics, starfire’s features are modeled after black women. you can throw as many racist tantrums as you want, but she’s still collecting her checks. die mad about it ✨ pic.twitter.com/isvpzPMeLb
— diana (@korysnova) July 8, 2020
CW’s Black Lightning star, Nafeesa Williams was the first black woman ever to be cast as a lesbian superhero. Regarding the role, Nafeesa says, “I’m really honored to play this role of the first Black lesbian superhero. Because when I think of that, I think of all the Black lesbians who have not been able to visually see themselves when they go to the cinema or they watch their favorite TV shows.”
Adding further “And for me, it’s one thing knowing that there is a role for it, but when you’re in that role and you’re getting feedback, you realize the importance of it and how much it is necessary and how much you need it.”
As per the comics, it is indeed clear that Starfire is a black woman, even back in 2018 when DC dropped its Titans trailer, the actress received countless racial remarks and trolling on her Instagram, leading her to shut it down.
Colorism is still a problem in Hollywood, and it has a history of tending to only cast black women with lighter complexions, especially if its a big-budget production.
Anna Diop as Kory is a black woman. Starfire as a comic book character is not; people canonically think she's just got a super nice tan. It's a racebend; that's not a bad thing, but it is a thing you should acknowledge. Your loss that you don't actually read comics. pic.twitter.com/19r1zECqOW
— @DC Comics: Cass Cain Deserves Better (@wordsandsense) July 19, 2020
However, this tweet was not well received as can be seen by the reply of a fan.