We’ve had these conversations about colorism at a rate of what seems like every single week of this year. And while the discussion and discourse are important in both addressing the issue in Hollywood and healing from it in our own communities, there are still several ways at which we fail in doing so effectively.
The latest actress to put her foot in her mouth is Thandie Newton who caught quite a bit of criticism when she painted herself as the first representation of a dark-skinned woman in the Star Wars films.
In an interview with The Guardian, Newton said:
“I am the first dark-skinned woman in a lead role in the Star Wars legacy, which is both great, that it is finally a correction, and awful, that it’s taken this long. Even Lupita Nyong’o’s character was CGI” – relating to the character of Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
As you can imagine, with the lack of representation for women who are darker than a paper bag, her comments didn’t land too well with Black folk. While she was attempting to celebrate this long overdue milestone, there are more than a few of us who are clear that while her casting was a step in the right direction, it doesn’t represent a substantial shift in Hollywood’s preferences when they finally do decide to cast Black actresses, particularly.
Black folk were not shy about sharing their opinions about her comments. Check out their responses and Thandie’s take away on the following pages.