Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson
Joseph Fiennes plays Michael Jackson in Urban Myths Sky Arts/Urban Myths

When I first heard Joseph Fiennes, aka the nice looking lad from Shakespeare in Love, was going to be playing Michael Jackson, aka the most iconic black singer of all time, in Sky Arts new comedy anthology series Urban Myths, I knew there was absolutely no way this was going to work out well.

I didn't know what the premise was going to be, the context or the story but I resigned myself to the reality that, this probably wasn't going to be the onscreen depiction that Michael deserves.

My reaction aligned with numerous others when Fiennes' casting as MJ was announced during the #oscarssowhite debate. Terrible timing but the Urban Myths team carried on.

The first trailer for Urban Myths was released this week and sadly we got to see how right we were about Fiennes. If you haven't seen it yet, it is a cartoon-like depiction that could give you nightmares. It's safe to say that Twitter reacted in the way that Twitter always does when something controversial happens; everyone had a laugh.

The Jackson family were not impressed either as 18-year-old daughter Paris Jackson tweeted: "i'm so incredibly offended by it, as i'm sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit."

She continues: "It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother liz as well".

From the reactions the trailer alone has received it is shocking that Fiennes was ever considered for the part. There are many light-skinned black comedic actors who could have taken on this part and done a good job. In fact there is literally a light-skinned black comedic actor in the same scene as Fiennes' Jackson in the trailer. Why wasn't he considered for the part?

As shocked as many are that this story which seemed like a particularly odd piece of fake news that had come true, no one is probably more shocked than Fiennes himself. He told Entertainment Tonight: "I'm a white, middle-class guy from London – I'm as shocked [about the casting] as you might be". He continued: "It's a light comedy look. It's not in any way malicious. It's actually endearing."

Whether or not the creators intended for the portrayal to be malicious or not it has been taken as malicious at worst and distasteful at best by many of Jackson's fans. It begs the question, was it really worth it for Fiennes' to take this cheque out of another black man's pocket? It seems like a drama that we didn't need right now. Also considering Fiennes' is starring in the upcoming Hulu TV drama Handmaid's Tale based on Margaret Atwood's seminal 1985 novel he probably doesn't need this overshadowing his other work right now either.

But alas it's done now so we have to deal with this, and by deal with this I mean ask why white actors are still playing roles created for ethnic minorities. This year alone Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton have all been accused of whitewashing in the roles they've portrayed.

We know most of these white stars are bankable. Put Scarlett Johansson in a film and you know it's almost guaranteed to be a success. It half explains the terrible casting that continues to happen.

As Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show when the casting was first announced a year ago: "At least if it was Meryl Streep, we'd be like, 'Yeah I mean, but she's dope.' But Joseph Fiennes? The guy who played Shakespeare? That's like the whitest guy in history!"

Many have said that due to Michael's appearance it was okay to get a white actor. I mean, I'm not going to argue with you that Michael didn't look odd. Perhaps he didn't look like our idea of a black man, but guess what, he still was a black man. He was born with a severe skin disorder which led to his skin colour change.

He still thought of himself as a black man and wanted people to remember him as such. In response to rumours that Jackson wanted a white child to portray him as a child in a commercial he told Oprah in a 1993 interview: "That's the most ridiculous, horrifying story I've ever heard...Why would I want a white child to play me – I'm a black American. I'm proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race and I am proud of who I am."

So what does it take for an actor of colour to play these roles that keep being given to white actors? Our stories are obviously exciting enough to make it on screen, our culture makes a great backdrop for a movie or maybe our music is the perfect soundtrack to go with each scene. If you've got that far then you've really got to get fully on board and love us as well, not just what we create for you.

Stephanie Phillips is a journalist and blogger who runs her own blog about women in music called Don't Dance Her Down Boys. You can follow her on Twitter @stephanopolus and find more of her writing here.