To gear up for its Super Bowl spot promoting the NSX sports car, Acura issued a request for a “nice looking, friendly” black actor who is “not too dark.”
That sounds pretty reasonable, right? WRONG.
Why wouldn’t all black actors be friendly? What does the ad agency mean by ‘too dark’? Clearly, this is an issue of colorism that I’m sure many African-American actors and actresses face working in Hollywood. But what makes it even more unfair is that the ad company for major car company like Acura would blatantly show their true colors of discrimination.
After the news broke yesterday of the ad agency’s narrow-mindedness, Acura released this statement today:
“We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials,” said the company. “We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.”
Hmph. So why not just hold a normal casting call to actually SEE what the talent has to offer? Why was it necessary to immediately typecast and furthermore allude to stereotypical notions that black actors aren’t friendly?
This issue is not just about race. It’s about the fact that major companies need to take more corporate responsibility in how they are represented by advertising and public relations agencies. Your moves should alway be strategic, even when it comes to casting actors for your commercials. It’s 2012 people. And while by no means do we live in a ‘post-racial society’, we have got to become smarter in the way which we approach race relations on the corporate level.
I do (somewhat) applaud Acura for immediately releasing a statement on behalf of themselves and their hired agency, and I hope that someone is reprimanded for an issue that could have definitely been avoided. More importantly, I hope that other companies have learned from Acura’s mistake.