We're huge fans of Storm, one of the few minority superheroes to cross over into the mainstream (#savestorm), so we were pumped to hear about Alexandra Shipp being cast as a younger Storm for X-Men: Apocalypse. But when we did the research for an article on her, it didn't take long to uncover a lot of anger from the black community about her casting. And a lot of the anger was centered around her skin color. Here are a few choice selections from Twitter:
keeping up the tradition of casting storm badly. Smh
WHAT THE F***. STORM IS A DARKSKIN AFRICAN!
First Halle Berry then Alexandra Shipp. Y'all just won't let Storm be the brownskinned woman that she was, huh, Hollywood?
They CONTINUE to miss the mark in casting Storm! She is a DARK, VOLUPTUOUS woman.Well, we're going to wade into the debate and explain why Alexandra Shipp is the perfect choice for Storm.
1. Shipp's Not a Bad Actress - Some people are criticizing her acting, which I think is at least an argument we can have. Many point to her role in Aaliyah as a sign of her poor acting skills. Well, first, I would say that role was more about doing an impression of Aaliyah than acting. Second, that movie was doomed to begin with. She did the best she could with the material she had to work with. Third, we don't know what kind of direction she was given. As we mentioned earlier, people thought Natalie Portman was a bad actress based on her performance in The Phantom Menace. I thought Heath Ledger was a terrible actor based on A Knight's Tale, but he proved himself in The Dark Knight. Shipp has managed to have a thriving career for years in a very tough industry, which means she can't be as horrible as people are claiming. Let's see what Shipp does with the material.
Also, let's face it. The X-Men movies are known for their special effects and action sequences, not acting. Halle Berry wasn't exactly winning Oscars for her scenes as Storm.
2. At Least We Have Storm - We should be celebrating that they continued to support a strong minority role. They could easily have taken the chance to cut Storm out of the movie series or recast her as a white actress. And don't say it couldn't happen. This is Hollywood we're talking about. They switch races all the time.
3. She's the Younger Halle Berry - There's a reason they put Jennifer Lawrence in the same blue makeup as Rebecca Romjin. The reality is that this was not supposed to be a complete reinvention of the character. This is supposed to be the younger version of Halle Berry's Storm. If they had cast someone the color of Lupita Nyong'o in the eighties, we'd be joking about how Storm got ten shades lighter in the nineties. Berry is mixed race, and Shipp is mixed race. Continuity, people.
4. Storm is American, Not Kenyan - Some people argued that Storm has to be darker skinned because she's from Kenya. Well, that's not quite correct. While it's true that Storm (aka Ororo Munroe) ended worshipped as a goddess in Kenya, that's not how she started. According to the comics, Ororo was actually born in America, the daughter of an African princess and an American photojournalist.
5. There Are All Shades in "Africa" - It's also a myth that everyone in Africa has extremely dark skin. First of all, Africa is a large continent. I mean, Egypt is part of Africa. Technically, France is part of Africa. When people say Storm is supposed to be "African," they really mean "South African." And as far as South Africa, there are people of many shades. Yes, there are even mixed-race people in South Africa. Saying Storm is "from Africa" doesn't automatically mean she has to look extremely dark.
6. Let's Stop the Color-Hating - Here's the main crux of our argument, though. We as African Americans need to move beyond color prejudice in our own community. The days of criticizing someone for not being "black enough" should be long gone. How can we expect people outside the African American community to move beyond prejudice against dark skin if we ourselves are looking down on light skin? A woman of African American heritage has a major movie role. Let's celebrate that fact, and get together behind it.
[Added a sixth reason]
What do you think about Alexandra Shipp as Storm?
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