Fantasy Casting

Fantasy Casting: The black creator of the tricycle needs an actor to portray him

It’s nearing Oscar movie season already, and while a movie about Matthew Cherry, the inventor of the tricycle, wouldn’t be able to be made for this season, it would be great to see a movie about Cherry come about at some point in the near future.

A little bit of background on Cherry: Cherry developed two devices that changed transportation forever. The first, the velocipede, was a metal frame with two or three wheels attached. The person using the vehicle of sorts would propel themselves with their feet. This original design went on to become what we now know of as the bicycle and tricycle. Cherry’s final tricycle design received a patent in May 1888.

Cherry’s second device helped innovate streetcars. To keep streetcars from becoming irreparably damaged from the impact of other streetcars, Cherry invented the street car fender and received a patent for the street car fender January 1895. Even though the invention has been modified since its creation, Cherry’s fenders are now used on all types of transportation. (,

So, now that the learning portion of this article is done, let’s talk about who could play this guy in the biopic that would most certainly be up for nominations and awards. I see Trevante Rhodes from Moonlight playing this character. To me, they look similar enough that it would be convincing, and it would just be fun to have a film like this be Rhodes’ follow-up to his award-winning debut. A film like this could only keep his award streak up.

(Twitter, The Hollywood Reporter screencap)

Another person good for this role could be Kofi Siriboe from Queen Sugar. He also favors Cherry and, from what he’s done on Queen Sugar, he’s begging to be the lead in a movie. All he needs is a chance (and, maybe, now that I’m thinking about it, this project could also be something cool for Ava DuVernay to attach her name to, that way the entire production can stay within the DuVernay movie family).

(Twitter, OWN screencap)

Whoever plays this guy, though, I’d go see this film. We all have fond memories of our first tricycle–I know I do-mine was candy apple red and was awesome–but not many of us knew who to show our gratitude towards. How sad and funny that it so happens that the inventor of one of the most iconic toys in American history is a black man, yet none of our history books reflect that fact.

Who do you want to see portray the inventor of the tricycle? Give your opinions in the comments section below.

Dear Hollywood: Make this Met Gala pic of Donald Glover, Riz Ahmed and Rami Malek into a blockbuster


The Met Gala has come and gone, and we’ve learned three things:

1. Rihanna is the Queen of the Met Gala

2. Kylie Jenner doesn’t get out of bed unless she can copy a black woman

3. Rami Malek, Riz Ahmed, and Donald Glover should star in a movie together. Any movie, whatever genre. Just make it, Hollywood.

Just look at these guys. I don’t even know if they’re friends in real life, but they’d look like they’d make great buddies. It’d be even better if they could showcase that friendship on celluloid (or, as it is nowadays, digital recording).

Picture it–a Girls Trip-esque film, but instead of having Queen Latifah and the gang go on an Essence weekend in New Orleans, it’s a Guys Trip, with Ahmed, Malek, and Glover going on a dude weekend in…anywhere other than Las Vegas, because that seems to be the cliche place for guys in a film to go. Let’s say they go to Miami, which is, technically also a cliche, but I used to live there and I like Miami, so there you go.

However, instead of the film being written like a typical “dudes on vacation” film, which usually involves a lot of ridiculous dude-bro behavior, the film would be written like…well, Girls Trip. From what I’ve seen of the trailer, it’s a film that is just as bawdy and sexual as any guys film, but instead, there’s the throughline of friendship and sisterhood. With the theoretical Guys Trip, the R-rated humor would be there, but there’s also tons of characterization and brotherhood there as well. It’d be awesome!

Also, we’d get to see Ahmed and Malek in comedic roles, something we haven’t seen from them in a long time, in the case of Malek (who has been in the Night at the Museum films), or ever, in the case of Ahmed (who hails from The Night Of and Rogue One).

If  roadtrip comedy isn’t in the cards for these guys, then I’d certainly take a future in which Ramek joins Ahmed and Glover in the Star Wars universe.

What do you think of Guys Trip, and would you watch it? Or, what kind of film would you want to see starring this trio of handsome guys? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Four Historical Native American Film-Worthy Subjects

Native Americans have gotten the shaft from Hollywood for far too long as it is. There aren’t any mainstream films telling Native American stories, including historical biopics. Like, literal biopics and not Westerns. So, if Hollywood’s listening, I’ve got four Native American historical figures that must get their own films, STAT! Some of them you might have heard about in your history books, but the history books don’t go into a lot of the detail that these figures deserve. There aren’t any mainstream films telling Native American stories, including historical biopics. Click To Tweet 

7 Historical Black/Multiracial European Film-Worthy Subjects

The British film Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, has shown the mainstream public that yes, black and multiracial people existed back in the 1700s. As I’ve written in my article for Coming of Faith, films showing historical people of color can only help audiences realize that all stories aren’t being told when it comes to the costume drama.

The traditional idea of the costume drama includes several tropes: the story is set in the 18th, 19th or early 20th century Europe, the plot is built around a windswept romance, and the set pieces feature pounds and pounds of sumptuous clothing and hair. There’s also the idea that the only people who mattered during these times were the rich white gentility.

But many historical records have shown that Britain has been a multicultural place since its ancient Roman occupation. Septimus Severus, one of Roman’s most legendary emperors, was of African origin and was buried in York. Also in York, one of the remains of the bodies of high class ancient Roman citizens was found to belong to a black woman. Even still, movies and television have painted Britain as almost homogeneously white, with the exception of slaves, such as highly decorated page boys, or freedmen who happened to be down on their luck.

I was struck by the idea of other Black-British and Black European stories that haven’t been told that should be told on a mass scale. Also, going to the awesome Tumblr Medieval POC helped give me some great inspiration for this post. So, here are seven stories (out of the thousands that have either been undiscovered or whitewashed) about Black or mixed-race Europeans who have yet to have their stories told on the big screen.

1. Francis Barber

Francis Barber

Study of Francis Baker by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 1770.

Francis Barber was technically Samuel Johnson’s servant, but Barber was more like his friend and son than his servant. Johnson paid for Barber’s five years of school and would often write letters to him (much like a father, I suppose). Johnson also made sure to keep Barber from doing menial tasks, including feeding the cat; Johnson did this himself in order for Barber’s “delicacy be not hurt, at seeing himself employed for the convenience of a quadruped.”

2. Queen Charlotte of Great Britain and Ireland

Queen Charlotte

Portrait by Sir Allan Ramsay. 1769.

I bet you didn’t know there were some black roots in the British Royalty. Queen Charlotte was the wife of King George III. She’s a direct descendant from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, the black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. Her ancestry was discovered when it was also discovered that members of the Castro y Sousa family acted as models for the black Magi found in 15th century Flemish paintings. This discovery is thanks to the History Department of McGill University and the director of the Burney Project, Dr. Joyce Hemlow as well as Olwen Hedly, the most recent biographer of Queen Charlotte.

Queen Charlotte, according to the Guardian, is beloved in the city named after her, Charlotte, North Carolina, due to her love of botany, her black ancestry, and her opposition to slavery. However, when she was queen, she was ridiculed by her peers and seen as ugly. The Queen’s physician, Baron Stockmar, wrote that she had a “true mulatto face.”

It’s worth noting that not all English people saw her as ugly. Her portrait painter, Sir Allan Ramsay, focused more on the African features of her face purposely, I’d imagine. According to PBS, Ramsay was an anti-slavery intellectual who also went on to marry the niece of Lord Mansfield, the English judge who paved the way towards abolishing slavery in the British Empire. Also, Queen Charlotte’s portraits were also used to spread the abolitionist message.

3. Philippa of Hainault

by John Faber Jr after Thomas Murray mezzotint,print,possibly mid 18th century

Before Queen Charlotte, there was Queen Phillipa. Yes, I know what the picture looks like. But listen to the true-life description from Bishop Stapledon who was asked by Queen Philippa’s future father-in law, Edward II, to look at her:

“The lady whom we saw has not uncomely hair, betwixt blue-black and brown. Her head is cleaned shaped; her forehead high and broad, and standing somewhat forward. Her face narrows between the eyes, and the lower part of her face is still more narrow and slender than the forehead. Her eyes are blackish brown and deep. Her nose is fairly smooth and even, save that is somewhat broad at the tip and flattened, yet it is no snub nose. Her nostrils are also broad, her mouth fairly wide. Her lips somewhat full and especially the lower lip…all her limbs are well set and unmaimed, and nought is amiss so far as a man may see. Moreover, she is brown of skin all over, and much like her father, and in all things she is pleasant enough, as it seems to us.”

Not only is Queen Philippa considered England’s first black queen, she also introduced central Asian genes to the bloodline, thanks to her being related to Elizabeth the Cuman, the daughter of Kuthen, Khan of the Cumens.

4. Edward, the Black Prince


from the Bruges Garter Book (Wikipedia)

Prince Edward is the son of Queen Phillipa and King Edward III. He was known as an exceptional military strategist, winning over the French in the Battles of Crécy and Poitiers made him extremely popular. He was also the first member of the Knights of the Garter, since he was one of the founders.

In history, it’s been disputed as to why he has been called the Black Prince, especially since there’s no record of him being called such during his lifetime. Some historians believe it’s because of the black armor he’d wear or his black shield. Others believe it was because of his brutality, especially towards the French in the Aquitaine. Since Queen Phillippa had a lot of children, I doubt people would single him out for being “black” anyway, so I doubt he was called the Black Prince because of his color.

5. Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George


Portrait of Joseph Bologne de Saint-George (1745-1799), by Mather Brown (engraving by William Ward)

Chevalier de Saint-George was the quintessential European gentleman. He was a virtuoso violinist, composer, equestrian, and swordsman. He was known as the “Black Mozart” due to his musical skill, and is one of the few European Classical musicians of African ancestry.

The French-Caribbean Boulogne was born to a white plantation owner and Nanon, a Wolof former slave. Boulogne acquired the name de Saint-George after one of his father’s properties. While still living in Guadeloupe, de Saint-George studied violin under another talented violinist of color, Joseph Platon. Determined to have his son be part of the aristocracy, de Saint-George’s father moved the family to Paris in 1749, where de Saint-George began his schooling.

He seemed to be best at everything he set out to do. His fencing master called him an expert at age 17. Not only was he a virtuoso at music and fencing, but he was also a physical specimen. The actual description of his looks (from the same fencing master, I think), is:

“Saint George had grown to a height of five feet ten inches [exceptional for the time]. He was very well built, with a prodigious strength of body and extraordinary vigor. Lively, supple, and slender, he astonished everyone with his agility. No one in the class showed more grace, more consistency.”

Eventually, de Saint George became a member of royal court in Versailles (I’d like to imagine that the black guy that was teaching Marie Antoinette the piano in Marie Antoinette was an homage to him). However it seems like he had such a storied life, he also had to face racism and later, the French Revolution.

In respect of his skill as both a composer and musician, Boulogne was selected for appointment as the director of the Royal Opera of Louis XVI. Despite his position as the only eligible applicant, Boulogne was refused, prevented by three Parisian divas who petitioned the Queen. Writing against the appointment, the trio insisted it would be beneath their dignity and injurious to their professional reputations for them to sing on stage under the direction of “a mulatto”.[10]

As a member of the aristocracy and the royal court at Versailles, Boulogne served in the army of the Revolution against France’s monarchist enemies. An amateur in war apart from his fencing past, Boulogne took command of a regiment of a thousand colored volunteers. Despite military success, he was repeatedly denounced because of his aristocratic parentage and past association with the royal court, and Boulogne was dismissed from the army on September 25, 1793 and imprisoned. Fortunately, he was acquitted after spending 18 months in jail.[11] After the revolution, Boulogne continued to lead orchestras but struggled to find his place in a France very different from the indulgent aristocracy he was accustomed to. Resigned to the life of a commoner Joseph Boulogne died in 1799 at the age of 54, falling into obscurity.[12]

6. Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano

From Project Gutenberg

Olaudah Equiano is a person that a lot of us are fairly familiarized with from our history books, but not enough as we should be, in my opinion. Enslaved as a child, Equiano eventually bought his freedom and made a living as a merchant, an author, and an explorer in South America, the Arctic, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and the American colonies. He eventually settled in Britain and wrote The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Of course, the book, which chronicled the horrible life he had under the slave trade, helped his and others’ abolitionist causes.

His book made him a superstar in Britain, allowing him to travel all across the United Kingdom. He also worked towards improving conditions in Africa, specifically Sierra Leone.

7. Ludwig van Beethoven


Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler (Wikipedia)

Now this is probably the most controversial person on the list, simply because we’ve grown up with the idea of Beethoven, the passionate, legendary composer, being white. Turns out his ancestry is a little more complicated.

Historians are now finding out that Beethoven may have been of mixed-race. Again, I know the pictures we associate with Beethoven (like the above one) show him as white. But read the true-life descriptions of him below. From New York University:

Although Beethoven’s lineage seems easily established on both sides of the family back to the fifteenth century, there still seems to be some mystery concerning the maternal side of the family, and claims in recent times that Beethoven may have been a mulatto, especially since his appearance seems to have been quite different from the other members of his family. Much of this stems from a description of Bonn’s master baker, Fischer, who wrote of Beethoven’s youth and described Beethoven as “short and stocky, broad-shouldered, with a short neck, large head, round nose and swarthy complexion; he always stooped forward when walking. At home, even as a young man, he was called the Spaniard.”

Other descriptions include the term “mulatto” such as Fanny Giantassio del Rio. Her book, An Unrequited Love: An Episode in the Life of Beethoven, she writes:

“His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.”

You can see more descriptions here, but they all say basically the same thing–he had dark, coarse hair, dark complexion, and was short. He was also irritated when people would call him “inferior.”

All right! There you have it! What do you think about this list? Who would you add? Leave your opinions below the post!

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All photos are in the public domain

Fantasy Casting: Who Could Play Hadji in Robert Rodriguez's "Jonny Quest" Adaptation?

News of a Jonny Quest movie has been around for years. I think the first time I heard about a Jonny Quest movie was in the works was in the early ’00s and again in 2010, when Zac Efron was still a teenager and Dwayne Johnson was still “The Rock,” making his way in the movie industry. Now, years later, the Jonny Quest movie is shaping up with Robert Rodriguez at the helm.