With The Hate U Give on the horizon, to be released October 19th in the US, and its lead actress Amandla Stenberg yet another example of colorism in Hollywood, of course, she speaks on the issue. As she has done many times, she notes how aware she is of the space she, Zendaya, and Yara take up as light-skinned, each one mixed, Brown girls. Yet, while it is nice we know each girl is aware of their privilege, there remains the question of if they are doing more than speaking out while enjoying the fame and continued work they get?
It’s very difficult to criticize those of mixed race or even those who are light-skinned, for in doing so, often it is like people are voiding their Blackness. Making it seem, just because their Black experience comes from a different origin, be it ethnic makeup, where they were born, social status, etc., there is an issue here. However, I think the growing problem is more so you don’t see, whether man or woman, old or young, dark-skinned Black people being put on camera, or even the presidency, to speak for Black Americans and their struggles.
Those like Amandla, and many others, find themselves still greatly benefiting from a system which loves and supports them, and speak out, but that is about it. At least from the point of view of an outsider. Which is becoming a growing problem. It is alright to speak against a system, but what needs to be done is like we heard Denzel Washington do. That is, if these actresses are going to be the few let in the room, we need to hear them using their platforms not just to speak out but let people in.
If Amandla and the others are going to be the prime source for Black girls and women in media, make it so women who look like Viola Davis have to play their mom. Make it so actresses like actresses like Antoinette Robertson or Aja Naomi King are playing not just their best friend, cousin, girlfriend, or sister, but have an equal role. For all this talk means nothing if this power they are gaining just means acknowledging colorism but doing nothing. Especially nothing visible for, in this day and age, there is a need to prove you are more than aware of the problem but actually doing something about it.
Simon, J. (2018, August 28). Amandla Stenberg On Colorism In Hollywood: “Me And Yara and Zendaya Are Perceived In The Same Way.”. Retrieved from Shadow & Act: https://shadowandact.com/amandla-stenberg-on-colorism-me-and-yara-and-zendaya-are-perceived-in-the-same-way