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People are accusing the 'Cats' filmmakers of whitewashing Kenyan-born actress Francesca Hayward in the upcoming film adaptation

Libby Torres , Business Insider US
 Jul 22, 2019, 10:59 AM

Francesca Hayward was a principal dancer at London's Royal Ballet before she joined the cast of "Cats."
Universal Pictures and David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
  • People on social media are accusing the upcoming "Cats" movie of whitewashing one of its lead actresses, the Kenyan-born Francesca Hayward, after the movie trailer was released on Thursday.
  • Hayward's character, Victoria, is a kitten with white fur, but many felt that the film was still whitewashing her portrayal.
  • "You wouldn't know the black lead was black unless you knew her already," one disgruntled user wrote on Twitter.
  • "Her character's fur could hardly be whiter," another said.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

People on social media are slamming the upcoming "Cats" movie for "whitewashing" one of its lead actresses.

The movie's much-anticipated trailer was released Thursday and shows off an all-star cast, including Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, and Jennifer Hudson.

After the trailer 's release, disgruntled fans took to Twitter to voice their concerns that Francesca Hayward, a Kenyan-born actress and dancer, wasn't able to be recognised as a person of colour.

And some expressed surprise and concern that Hayward's racial background seemed to be obscured.
Others, however, felt that the concerns were a bit overblown.

Hayward, for her part, seems to be very excited about her role in the upcoming film. On Instagram, she's shared several clips of the trailer and behind-the-scenes footage.

"This is very surreal for someone who doesn't sing in public, to suddenly be singing with Jennifer Hudson," Hayward said in a recent behind-the-scenes clip she shared to her profile.

"Cats" premieres in December 2019. You can watch the trailer here.

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