Is it just me or is Hollywood getting really comfortable handing over nuanced LGBTQ+ roles to straight, cisgender, white actors? I can think of a few off the top of my head: Jared Leto (trash, garbage, rubbish, and other related synonyms), Eddie Redmayne (the male Jennifer Lawrence, meaning undeserving of critical acclaim), Benedict Cumberbatch (the internet crush of everyone with low levels of melanin), and Cate Blanchett (problematic, but trying). Though I might come across as bitter about the whole practice, I’m not entirely opposed to straight actors donning the rainbow for a role. I’m totally giving a pass to the following seven black actresses who white media may have ignored for their lady-loving portrayals:
1 Taraji P Henson as Shark Watters in “Smokin’ Aces”Before starring in her critically acclaimed role as Cookie Lyon, Henson played a lesbian assassin in 2005’s forgettable “Smokin’ Aces.” Alicia Keys played her partner, in both senses of the word, in the movie. The film co-starred Ryan Reynolds and our second favorite Chris Pine of course, yet still, no one saw it.
2 Rashida Jones as Cindy Harris in “Our Idiot Brother”Rashida Jones has played a lesbian before, and no I’m not talking about any femslash fanfic involving Ann Perkins and Leslie Knope caught up in some salacious political scandal. (Though if you know of some, please send them my way). I’m talking about her supporting role in the film “Our Idiot Brother,” which starred Paul Rudd. Jones played a lesbian lawyer in wire-rimmed glasses who was also the live-in girlfriend of Zooey Deschanel’s character (the sister of the titular brother).
3 Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale in “American Horror Story: Hotel”After her scene-stealing turn as a voodoo queen in “American Horror Story: Coven,” Ryan Murphy asked Bassett back to the anthology series. This time she played a 70’s Blaxploitation actress turned vampiric ex-lover of Lady Gaga’s The Countess. Yes, Angela Bassett x Lady Gaga was a thing that happened in TV land. In case you don’t believe me, there is actual photographic evidence of this unlikely yet visually appealing coupling.
4 Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Cassie on “Rosewood”
Years after appearing as onscreen rivals in the football dramedy, “The Game,” Mowry-Hardrict reunited with former co-star Gabrielle Dennis (“Luke Cage,” “The Bobby Brown Story”) for a brief stint on the now-canceled “Rosewood.” The “Sister, Sister” actress starred as the restaurateur ex-girlfriend of Dennis’s character. While Tia isn’t necessarily my favorite Mowry, she is an attractive woman, so I ship it.