- Nov 5, 2007
The writer and producer claim the series will 'challenge all the conventions of who we think Anne Boleyn was'
What conventions are being challenged by portraying an historical icon, who was decidedly fair skinned and a native of the island, as a black-skinned woman, very few, if any, of which were ever seen in England at the time. ?
You can take for example Churchill, and portray him as a racist bully instead of a heroic war time Prime Minister, or closer to home, portray Mandela as a ruthless terrorist instead of the usual benevolent messiah - there is more than one side to any famous/notorious figure.
But I find the concept of a black Anne Boleyn just as implausible as a white Madiba, and frankly it just reeks of 'oh look at us, we are so out there and woke'.
It's not a comedy, it's not a parody - Ann Boleyn was white, not a black feminist.
The sad thing is thousands of British TV watchers, and millions of American viewers will go forth sprouting 'wow, I didn't know Anne Boleyn was black'.
If it was a Twitter or Facebook post it would come with a Fake News rubber stamp.
I could suggest a few possibilities:
1) They are drawing parallels between Anne Boleyn’s experiences and those of a black woman, that will be clear in the series
2) Her performance is simply so good that the issue of her race is moot
3) The show is bad and the casting feels weird throughout.
I don’t know what will be until it’s ready. I do know that they’ve managed to garner 10x more press by this decision than if they’d gone with Tilda Swinton.
In the meantime you can always occupy yourself with Anthony Hopkins’ masterful shoe-polished performance as Othello.