By Cynthia Reid | Shadow and Act May 13, 2011 at 8:08AM
A few days ago, I caught the end of a twitter debate going on concerning what black actors and actresses are considered "A-List". Although this is not a new debate, I'm always surprised by the names that will come up and why. Part of the difficulty with developing this list is trying to determine popularity versus demand. Also, racially, there are certain thespians that probably appeal more to the black community than with white studio heads in Hollywood.
This subject was highlighted even more when word came out that Quentin Tarrantino was hoping to cast "top shelf" for his Django Unchained production. Immediately, I thought this only came down to Will Smith or Denzel Washington. I couldn't even think of a black woman, besides Halle Berry, considered "top shelf" which was certainly disturbing and I'm not completely sure she's in that category.
Now, using the phrase "top shelf" or "A-list" probably, in a general sense, means the ability to get a green light for a film. However, that definition may contain additional factors regarding ethnic actors.
Also, there's another angle to this that I think is a big reason for Tyler Perry's success. Whether you like him or not, he's always had a knack for casting well and understanding who appeals to his audience. Sometimes the actors and actresses that one group finds charming can be totally different from what mainstream society wants to force feed you.
So tell me...who's on that "A-List"? And could there possibly be two...one for the mainstream and one for our community?