Is this a case of more whitewashing? Haven’t the mainstream entertainment industry learned from all the whitewashing outrage and controversies? – well I think not, and it seems the same mistakes are repeated again – this time it is whitewashing a real life Hawaiian island leader – Ben Kanahele.

Anyways, historical drama Ni’ihau will start filming at the end of this month and is based on the REAL life story of Ben Kanahele, a Hawaiian island leader who saves Shigenori Nishikaichi an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot who crash landed on the Hawaiian island where Kanahele was the leader of during the attack at Pearl Harbor  – WWII. Kanahele saves Nishikaichi before realising that he is part of this attack. Nishikaichi is taken hostage and does what he can to escape his capture. Eventually Kanahele ends up killing Nishikaichi and was acknowledged for his contribution/bravery.

Such history needs to be approached not only sensitively but also delicately, ensuring all facts and characters are portrayed correctly due to how intense and emotional it is and will get. But the first mistake is made by having white dude Zach McGowan play native Hawaiian Ben Kanahele. It’s like what the fuck is going on? Why couldn’t they get a native Hawaiian/Polynesian actor to play Kanahele? This is absolutely pathetic.

Actually, I was lucky enough to be able to read the script prior to the news of its filming happening, and I did think at first read that it would be interesting as it’s an opportunity to cast many AAPI/Asian and Polynesian actors in this historical drama. I mean how can you whitewash history? But low and behold the worse outcome has happened.

But is it really a surprise considering McGowan will be exec producing this alongside Ileen Maisel of Amber Entertainment and Peter Morris of Affirmative Entertainment. I am not saying McGowan is a bad actor, it is actually on the contrary, but I am saying and questioning why do white people wash out our history? Kanahele should be played by a Native Hawaiian/Polynesian actor and there are many talented ones out there… how about:

JASON MOMOA (who is actually born in Hawaii and Hawaiian on his father’s side)

or DWAYNE JOHNSON ( Samoan descent)

or even TAYLOR WILY ( who was born in Honolulu of Samoan descent)…

Come on, the list of suitable Polynesian actors is endless!

Let us know what you think.

Images via Deadline Hollywood and Buzzfeed

If you would like to read the full article, please click on: Zach McGowan To Star In ‘Ni’ihau’; WWII Pic Directed By Gabriel Robertson


  1. Better article that doesn’t propagate the propaganda and misses the point entirely:


    This film is trying to pit Hawaiians vs. the Japanese (men). Again, none of this is even remotely touched upon here. Shame.