Why Don't We See Them Get Better Roles?
Today's subject is
Stick with me, blind fanfolks. You may see what I'm getting at. Heck, you may even agree (gasp!).
Now, anyone who's seen Boris Kodjoe in, say, Real Husbands of Hollywood, Soul Food, or even the ill-fated series Undercovers, will know two things. First, he's a attractive black man on the younger side of 50 who speaks a slew of languages that has, seemingly, a pretty magnetic personality. While that sets him up to be "bald, light-skinned black savior number one" in many films (see Madea's Family Reunion, The Gospel, etc.), it theoretically opens up a lot of roles and doors. Second, he's not that bad of an actor. While he's not knocking down The Academy's door with performance after performance, when he's given great material, he usually does well. So, why don't fans of Mr. Kodjoe's work see him getting better roles in Hollywood?
I think the answer is two-fold.
One, he's an attractive black guy on the younger side of 50. Therefore, he's probably been typecasted into the role of the "[bald, light-skinned] black savior to the woman who needs saving from her abusive something-or-other." It's the same thing that happened with Shemar Moore before he caught on with Criminal Minds. Hell, they both appeared in Tyler Perry movies within the span of two years! It's like asking why we don't see Taraji P. Henson in more roles that aren't just ratchet as hell. While they're both great in the roles they get, they're so good at them that you often don't see them for anything other than "Damon from Soul Food" or "Cookie Lyon from Empire," respectively.
"But, Speed," you're probably about to start. "Taraji has won a Golden Globe and has been in Oscar-nominated films. Even Shemar Moore got a Daytime Emmy. Why can't Boris get that recognition?" That, of course, brings me to the second part of my theory as to why we don't see him in better roles. Outside of the "[bald, light-skinned] black savior to the woman who needs saving" roles, when he's appeared in film, he hasn't exactly been blessed with the greatest material to work with. Look at his IMDB page.
No, seriously, folks. Ladies, get your eyes off his abs and look at the films he's been in. They aren't that good and his roles within most of them have been...subpar. And Hollywood is all about "what have you done for me lately?" And if one of your best answers is "oh, I starred as Sharon Neal's husband in Addicted," you're probably going to get one of two things. Either you're going to get more "eye candy" roles, or you're going to get roles that don't exhibit your entire range of ability.
But, is it really that bad to have a Boris Kodjoe in, say, Baggage Claim for a couple minutes as just a "hot body" for our female leads--and many audience members, at times--to gawk at? Eh...not really. If that's what's keeping his family fed, who am I really to judge? However, I've seen glimpses of his acting skills and comedic timing and think there's more to his abilities than just being the "hot black guy."
Now, is he Denzel or Will Smith in terms of his performances? Again, maybe not. The sample size is smaller. And both Denzel and Will have had stinkers, so...yeah. But, in the next couple years, I'd like to hope this question will be asked less and less. Plus, the guy's a great humanitarian, he and his wife are probably one of the few "legit" relationships left (and, believe it or not, I'm a big proponent of relationships), and he seems like a decent person. He deserves a great, memorable movie role just based off that alone.
We'll see. As always, though, this is just my opinion. Don't block me.