Yesterday, when Victoria wrote about the privilege lighter skinned women enjoy when it comes to Hollywood casting decisions, I hit her up on G-Chat saying that now that these lighter skinned actresses know that they are receiving preferential treatment in these situations, now that they know their skin tone is giving them access to roles clearly meant for darker skinned women, like the character Riri Williams, it’s high time these actresses start declining the roles.
Perhaps Zendaya Coleman should be the one to lead the charge.
We already know that the 19-year-old actress is woke. But thankfully, she also understands her privilege as a lighter skinned woman.
In this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan, she said,
“I feel a responsibility to be a voice for the beautiful shades my people come in. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers… Like people question, Would you listen to Zendaya if she wasn’t the same skin color? And that’s an honest question. Can I honestly say that I’ve had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot. I have not walked in her shoes and that is unfair of me to say. But I’m completely behind that woman. I want to be a part of the movement and growth. And if I get put in a position because of the color of my skin where people will listen to me, then I should use that privilege the right way.”
When other actors, actresses and artists of color seem to be completely out of touch with the issue of colorism in both our community and society, it’s so refreshing to see that Zendaya knows what’s up.
Coleman is not afraid to speak her mind in tight situations. She also shared a incident where she told her publicist she wasn’t happy with the hair and makeup for a magazine cover. Long story, short it didn’t end well for the publicist.
On a situation on set with someone being racially insensitive: “I didn’t like my hair and makeup one time on a photo shoot, and my publicist told me, ‘You should just be happy with it — they haven’t had a black girl on the cover since forever.’ She’s no longer my publicist.”
This issue of Cosmo is on newsstands right now.