Dark Actresses Matter, When Will Colorism In Hollywood Stop?

By  |  0 Comments
It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Email this to someone
Share on Google+

By now many of you have probably caught a glimpse at the trailer for the movie The Hate U Give. The movie, which derives from the award winning “The Hate U Give” novel by Angie Thomas, is also inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and s scheduled to hit theaters October 19th. The film features a star-ridden cast which includes Regina Hall, Common, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith and Amandla Stenberg.

However, “Black Twitter” engaged in much controversy over the latter actress, as the question continues to rise: “Why does Hollywood appear to only cast light-skinned Black women?”

Throughout the young adult novel, Starr, the protagonist, was pictured by readers as dark-skinned because of the cover of the novel, which features a dark-skinned girl holding a sign that reads “The Hate U Give.” Consequently, many trailer watchers were outraged as the movie featured a light-skinned actor, Amandla Stenberg, who plays Starr.

“What’s really the tea with this? Why is the actress light skinned if y’all had me picturing a dark-skinned girl the whole time I’m reading the book?” @longlivebree_ tweeted, and “Amandla getting all the YA roles. I didn’t know she was cast as Starr for The Hate U Give. I wish they would’ve casted a dark skin actress,” @midnightmer tweeted, along with more uneasy feelings from other Black Twitter users. Seriously, no one could have given China Anne McClain or Skai Jackson a call?”

This isn’t the first time Hollywood has miscasted a crucial character. The colorism conversation also arose in 2016, when light-skinned Zoe Saldana was chosen over several other qualified, dark-skinned actresses to play Nina Simone in the biopic entitled “Nina.” When it was revealed later that Saldana would be performing the role in makeup to darken her skin and apparently prosthetics to broaden her features, the outrage grew even louder, but producers stuck by her and the project.

To all the “Black is Black” commentators: this matters because of the constant casting of light-skinned Black women, it indicates that Hollywood still overwhelmingly believes that a Black woman must possess non-Black ancestry or features to be considered beautiful or valuable. Likewise, many Black actors with dark skin and “Blacker” features are being denied access to great film roles.

All Black women struggle to gain roles and recognition in Hollywood. Any Black woman finding success in Hollywood, whether light-skinned, dark-skinned or somewhere in between, is a success for the Black community. But Hollywood cannot reach true inclusivity until women with darker skin receive adequate representation as well. True representation will occur when a Black girl, of any shade or hair texture can go to the movies and watch actresses that look just like her on the big screen.


By Sullivan Anderson, Junior, Jones College Prep

Twitter: @amoursullivan  / @snapchat: justcallmesully

You must be logged in to post a comment Login