Aretha Franklin stated that she had been offered the role of Melinda, but she turn it down. This was during the time she lost a tremendous amount of weight and looked like a model. Check out her early 1970s photos. But, she was offered several scripts, but turned them all down too, calling them "menial." She should have accepted, just to get the experience. Perhaps she could have had a second career as an actress.
Today, she's complaining that Hollywood didn't do more for stars of color. She waited too long to make a fuss. Black stars can't wait on Hollywood, they have to create projects themselves if they REALLY want to act in films. Sad, but true.
Diana Ross and Whitney Houston expressed a desire to play Jospehine Baker. Only Lynn Whitfield took the bull by the horn and fought to play the role. She got it. Likewise, Whitney and Janet both wanted Dorothy Dandridge, but Halle Berry bought the novel, paid to have the script written and played the role herself. That's the way you do things.