Denzel Washington recently starred in the movie "Flight" that premiered last week, but some people are debating about his role as an abusive, drug addicted pilot who deals with alcoholism.
Dr. Boyce Watkins, author and social commentator, spoke out about Washington's role as William "Whip" Whitaker in the film. According to Watkins, it would be racist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award Washington or the creators and cast of the film with their coveted Academy Award.
"If the Academy does decide to honor Washington with an Oscar, I'll admittedly find myself a tad bit annoyed. It's so interesting how black people tend to be recognized the most when we play roles that fit into inaccurate stereotypes that fit white America's vision of what it means to be 'authentically black': They don't recognize Denzel for his brilliant performance as Malcolm X, but they fawn over Morgan Freeman's role in 'Driving Miss Daisy,'" Watkins wrote in Kulture Kritic. "Halle Berry gets no Oscar Buzz when she plays Dorothy Dandridge, but they love her skankily-depressing performance in 'Monster's Ball.' The bottom line is simple: If a black person does a good impression of a thief, drug addict, prostitute, maid or athlete, you've got yourself a touchdown. The worst thing you can do, however, is play a role that communicates intelligence, integrity or courage….that's 'not realistic.'"
Fans of Washington's engaged in a debate after reading Watkins' article, some agreeing with the social commentator.
"How many Black commercial airplane pilots have you seen? Most Americans will say none. In fact millions of Americans have no interaction with Black Americans," one person wrote on Facebook. "Their perception is based on what the media shows them?"
However, some celebrities took to Twitter to praise Washington's controversial role.
"Denzel Washington was amazing in the movie 'Flight,'" business magnate Russell Simmons tweeted. "Go see it!"
While other movie goers agreed with both sides of the debate, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp took to Twitter to make a neutral observation about the movie.
"Mr. Denzel Washington sure can sellout a movie! #Flight," Kemp tweeted recently.