‘Aladdin’ Fans Made Naomi Scott’s Casting as Princess Jasmine Controversial
But the waves were more negative than they were positive.
Critics and fans of the animated movie from 1992 were upset that Scott did not match the ethnicity or the ethnic background of the original Jasmine.
Naomi Scott's Parents and Ethnic Background
Naomi Scott was born on May 6, 1993, in Hounslow, London, England. She is the second child of parents who came from different ethnic backgrounds.
Scott is of English and Ugandan-Indian descent. She gets her English origins from her father, Christopher Scott, an English pastor.
She gets her Ugandan-Indian descent from her mother. Her mother, Usha Scott, formerly Usha Joshi, is of Indian Gujarati origin.
But, she was born in Uganda and only later moved to the UK.
Scott's grandmother, a "tiny little Indian woman," brought her family to England from Uganda after Idi Amin's reign began and terror ensued.
Scott grew up in Hounslow until she was eight. Then, her parents moved the family to Woodford, London.
There, her parents worked as pastors at the Bridge Church. This introduced her to gospel music and R&B.
Even though her parents were devout Christians, they did not push their religion on her or her older brother, Joshua. Instead, they let them find their own faith.
"Yes, I have a belief system, but I don't know everything," Scott said during her interview with W Magazine in 2019. "[and] we're all just as messed up as each Scott is."
Church also brought her and her husband together. She was 16 and attending church when she met Jordan Spence. The two have now been married since 2014.
Naomi Scott's Ethnic Background Created Controversy
When Scott got her first callback after auditioning for Aladdin, she was very excited. So much so she "faked" her own identity to impress the auditioners.
A self-described Tomboy, she bought a light-blue flowery dress. She didn't wear it more than once, but she did put effort into it.
After getting selected for the role, Scott worked with the filmmakers to make Jasmine more than just two-dimensional, which was the case in the animated original.
She led this development and even created a new plotline for the character, where she is seen standing up to Jafar to protect her kingdom.
But, despite her efforts, criticism still came her way. This was due to differences in the ethnic background between her and the character she was to portray.
Many people thought Scott's casting as Jasmine brought to the forefront Hollywood's issue of colorism in casting.
But many others were disappointed at Hollywood for choosing Scott for the role instead of an actual Arab woman.
Another criticism was targeted at Jasmine's origins. There have always been doubts about Jasmine's ethnic background and heritage.
Naomi Scott's English and Indian ethnic background caused controversy during 'Aladdin' casting. (Photo: Instagram)
The movie begins with 'Arabian Nights,' which hints that she is Arabian. But, the buildings in the fictional city of Agrabah are of Taj Mahal-style, which indicates that she might be of Indian origin.
This prompted people to question Hollywood's use of Indians and Arabs as interchangeable.
All the comments hurt Scott. But she took it all in her stride.
"You genuinely cannot please everyone. That feeling of being misunderstood by people commenting about me – if I put energy into that, I will get nowhere," she said during her interview with The Telegraph in May 2019.