Casting or Marketing?

When old Hollywood set about casting the 1943 musical Cabin in the Sky, I imagine there was no debate that the character of Petunia Jackson, the faithful and loyal wife would be played by Ethel Waters and the flirty vamp should be played by Lena Horne, remember this was old Hollywood, not today’s Hollywood. Just as who could or would argue with the casting of Dorothy Dandridge in the title role of Carmen Jones, desired by many of the men her character encounters. So, even today, when the casting search goes out for an actress to be the love interest for a Denzel Washington character, the call seems to call for a Lena Horne type, old Hollywood, seems not to be so old after all. As an aside, as super talented as Michael Jackson was, it can be argued that with his new manifestation, his outer adjustment, of his appearance it was just a little easier for him to be more accepted, marketed to the general population, becoming one the first to be included in its major rotation along with Prince and other ‘brown baggers’ to appear regularly on the MTV Music Channel.

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