Five Actresses Who Should Play Robin Roberts in a Movie

There aren’t many women who are better known in the world of sports than Robin René Roberts. This sportscaster is famous for her catchphrase “Go on with your bad self!” However, that’s not her only accomplishment. In college, Robin was the third-highest scoring women’s basketball player of all time at Southeastern Louisiana University with 1,446 points (plus, 1,034 rebounds). They retired her jersey, number 21, in a ceremony on February 5, 2011. Additionally, Robin was chosen by Equality Forum as one of the 31 Icons for LGBT history month in 2015. Though Robin is an outstanding athlete and sportscaster, her life wasn’t all interviews and awards shows. In 2007 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, her doctors caught it early, and Robin underwent a successful surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Sadly, five years later, she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. This rare but severe complication involving cancers in your bone marrow which result in blood cells which don’t mature properly. Instead of stepping out of the limelight, Robing decided to document her journey. She received a Peabody for her efforts. More importantly, Robin helped create a 1,800% spike in donors for the National Marrow Donor Program the day she went public with her condition.

1. Angela Bassett

A fantastic, accomplished icon like Robin Roberts deserves to have outstanding representation in any movie. We can’t think of a better actress than the queen of Wakonda herself to portray someone as amazing as Robin. In the course of her career, Angela has taken on so many roles, and she’s no stranger to playing real people. She starred as the incomparable Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993) and received critical acclaim and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the often conflicted singer. If someone is going to make a (theoretical) movie about your life as a brilliant, athletic, beautiful, strong black woman sportscaster and TV personality, Angela Bassett’s name should be the first choice on the list of potential actresses. We can’t think of a more powerful and stunning actress to do Robin justice on the silver screen.

2. Alfre Woodard

We could have easily given the top billing on this list to Alfre Woodard. This brilliant, gorgeous, politically active actress has a list of awards as long as our arm. Much like Angela Bassett, she’s played her share of real people. Most notably, she took on the role of Winnie Mandela, a South African Activist, in the 1987 film Mandela. Her portrayal was moving, and Alfre is clearly up to the challenge of playing a woman who raised awareness for a rare condition like Robin. While Alfre herself isn’t a lesbian, she has a strong following of LGBTQIA fans who she adores. In her interview with Logo’s NewNowNext about The Lion King, Alfre touched briefly on the subject. Sharing how much she loves her fans and what she’s able to give them is a personal connection for her. Surprisingly, Alfre doesn’t seem quite to believe that she’s become a gay icon. We think she’d be comfortable and dynamic in the role of Robin.

3. Viola Davis

Viola Davis is another easy-in on this list. As a southern girl herself, born in St. Matthews South Carolina she has some common ground with fellow southerner Robin. As the first black actor to receive an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony, she’s pretty well qualified to play any character you could throw at her. Taking on an LGBTQIA icon like Robin isn’t much of a stretch after her roles in “Gods Heart” and “King Lear,” among others. Viola is one of the few actors who’s portrayed any characters who are gay and black. It’s an underserved demographic. Her sexuality doesn’t define Robin Reynolds, but it is a part of who she is. Hence, finding an actor comfortable with showing her as herself is vital to the role. Similarly, anyone who takes this role has to be able to play the drama and vulnerability of sharing your illness on a national stage, as a powerful and incredibly confident woman like Robin.

4. Lynn Whitfield

If you haven’t yet seen Lynne in Greenleaf, then you’re missing out on a fantastic show. Greenleaf openly brings one of the significant issues facing people who are LGBTQIA and black, the way their churches treat them. We’re not sure how Robin feels about the problem, but an actress who’s going to take on her role needs to be comfortable bringing LGBTQIA sexuality to the screen. Like Robin, there’s so much more to Lynne. She played Josephine Baker, the first international African-American star. Anyone who can bring that level of passion and sheer star quality to the role is worthy of telling Robin’s story on the big screen.

5. Debbi Morgan

Perhaps best known for her role on All My Children where she played Dr. Angela Baxter Hubbard, Debbie Morgan is a Hollywood staple. This exceptional actress has been cranking out fantastic characters, both fictional and reality-based since the 1970s. With over sixty film and TV roles to her name and over a dozen awards and nominations, Debbi brings a lot of talent to any project she might take on. We think she’d make a superb Robin. Debbi has also faced cancer head-on in real life. Though she wasn’t diagnosed herself, she helped comfort her cousin Kendra Boleware Skinner during her twelve-year battle with cancer. Bringing that sort of insight into the worst parts of a true story like Robin’s life gives her a unique perspective to translate into a role. All great actors draw on their own experience to help create depth and truth in their characters.

Final Thoughts

The hardest part about casting a Robin Roberts movie is that fact that there are so many brilliant and talented actresses available who could take on her part. We managed to narrow it down to these five, but any one of them could be perfect for the role. With sass, class, and surprisingly powerful vulnerability, Robin has conquered every venue she decided to take on. We think her story would make an outstanding feature-length film. There’s not enough representation for gay black women in media. Fortunately, it leaves the field wide open for icons like Robin to rise up and fill that emptiness with their dazzling personalities and fearless dynamism.

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