Harold Perrineau hit back at critics who say his daughter should not play an African-American character from the animated series on which the new film Jem and the Holograms is based because she is only half-black.
In a piece at The Wrap, he writes that his wife and the mother of his daughter, Aurora, 19, is white and he is black, leading some critics to charge that the teen is "not qualified or "black" enough to play Shana, a black character in the series.
"Her blackness or lack thereof is so offensive to some that they've written articles about it," he writes. "They've gone onto social media and spewed their vitriol directly at her. Some went so far as to suggest that she 'kill herself' for taking the role. All, without ever seeing her work in the role. All this anger [is] based solely on the color of her skin."
In the pointed essay, Perrineau, 52, known for his roles on Oz, Lost and The Matrix, asks readers to stop looking "to Hollywood to define who we are and find ways that we can define ourselves."
He hopes to inspire people pointing fingers at young artists like his daughter to use their creative energy "to create characters that look, sound and feel like yourselves," he writes. He and his wife, Brittany, have three children.
Perrineau's lament is the latest example of problems with colorism in Hollywood. Academy Award nominee Viola Davis told The Wrap in June that the "paper-bag test" is still very much alive in Hollywood, meaning roles are difficult to obtain for women darker than a paper bag. And Zoe Saldana has faced criticism that she is too light-skinned to portray Nina Simone in a biopic slated for release in December.
Read more at The Wrap.