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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Afro-Latina Actress Leslie Grace Has Been Cast as Batgirl, White Fanboys Are Comically Mad

The In The Heights breakout co-star will portray Barbara Gordon for the upcoming HBO Max project.

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Leslie Grace attends the “In The Heights” Opening Night After Party during the 2021 Tribeca Festival on June 09, 2021.
Leslie Grace attends the “In The Heights” Opening Night After Party during the 2021 Tribeca Festival on June 09, 2021.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

I am projecting the Black-ass bat signal into the sky with the following news: Batgirl is Afro-Latina.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leslie Grace (In The Heights) has been cast as Batgirl / Barbara Gordon in the upcoming project debuting on HBO Max in 2023. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the filmmakers behind Bad Boys for Life, will be directing and Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, The Flash) will pen the script.

More scoop about Batgirl, the character, via THR:

Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham police commissioner Jim Gordon, is the most famous version of Batgirl, who has had multiple characters don the cape and cowl. Batgirl originated in 1961 as Betty Kane, with the character revamped in 1967 for the Batman TV series for its third season, when network executives wanted to attract a female audience to the series. Yvonne Craig played the character on the ’60s TV show, with Alicia Silverstone playing her in Joel Schumacher’s 1997 movie Batman & Robin.

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Black Batgirl-Barbara Gordon has been in conversation ever since Jeffrey Wright was cast as Gordon in the upcoming theatrical flick, The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz.

Grace, who is Dominican American, had her breakout role in the 2021 film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. She is also a three-time Latin Grammy-nominated singer.

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“I didn’t realize until this movie that I didn’t really get to see people who looked like myself or my siblings that are darker than me onscreen,” Grace said during a highly-publicized interview with The Root Video Producer Felice León, which served as a difficult yet much-needed discussion about the disappointing erasure of dark-skinned Afro-Latinx leading characters in the musical film. “I didn’t realize how much that affected the limitations that I put on myself being someone who wanted to be an artist, an actress and even be in the Latin music industry, being Afro-Latina! I feel so blessed to be able to express the diversity that is within the Latinx community.”

Clearly Grace’s casting in this titular role is a big deal for Afro-Latinx representation annddddd...like clockwork, here come the white fanboy “purists” with their salty social media rantings.

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Actor and host Mike Kalinowski posted a few screenshots on Twitter from what appears to be Facebook comments about the news announcement. One comment read, “I don’t know why every role has to be cast with a Black person anymore. Why not try to stay true to the comics? I have nothing against Black people or them being cast in strong Black roles, but it seems they are casting these actors and actresses just to please the Black community. Why? There’s plenty of Black characters that these actresses and actors would be great as.”

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Look, I’m definitely hoping that this wave of color-blind casting doesn’t mean it is used as a pandering replacement for fresh and original Black characters and stories to be showcased because… why can’t we have both?! The intention of the above comment, however, is like serving bigot butter on a saltine cracker. Miss me with that.

One comment from another person miffed about a fictional character whose story is not inherently linked to their race read, “So is there a reason all redhead white people are getting replaced? I’m asking because it seems a bit racist to do that. Just saying that’s not respectful of the source material.” I’m guessing this redhead white erasure is also a nod to the similar saltiness expressed when Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

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Excuse me, because I’ll be laughing at this until both movies are released. Thank you and goodnight.