5 Stars Speak on Encountering Racism
Sadly racism is still alive today and these 5 stars have spoken on encountering people with ignorant racial views. Some were bullied because of their race or were simply surprised by people’s attitude towards their personal heritage. Others come from mixed race backgrounds and say they have been shocked by people’s reaction and how differently they are treated because of their race. Some say they’ve noticed racism in the workplace, bravely pointing at Hollywood for being racist when it comes to selecting actors for roles. Others were personally victimized and have grown stronger from their racist encounter. Here are 5 stars who’ve all encountered racism in their lives.
Rashida has been confronted by ignorant people about her race in the past: “I definitely learned my lesson. I’m back to that place were I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m black, I’m white, I’m Jewish, I’m Irish, I’m Portuguese, I’m Welsh, what the f**k ever.’ To me it’s so inconsequential. People still say things to me like, ‘Oh my god, you’re black? I would’ve never guessed that.’ And I just think, I can’t help your ignorance. There are bi-racial people who look like me or who look like Alicia Keys or who look like Halle Berry. I’m so proud to be so many things.”
Thandie admits that she has encountered racism in Hollywood: “I have honestly never encountered racism in Britain. But I have encountered clumsiness with racial stereotypes in Hollywood. I remember having a meeting with a studio head and talking about a role. She said, ‘Yeah, Thandie, but are you black enough for this role? Is it believable that this character has a degree?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am black enough and have a degree myself.’ And she said, ‘But you are different.’ I have also met black filmmakers who think I do not have enough street cred. The ignore the fact I am an actress and can play anything.”
Alesha was saddened when a reporter told her that black people couldn’t cover magazines: “I did an interview with (another) magazine once and the journalist quite openly said they wouldn’t put a black person on the front cover because the magazine wouldn’t sell. It made me angry because it shouldn’t be about the colour of a person’s skin, it should be about the person.”
Naomi has encountered racism in the fashion industry when white models have been selected just for their skin colour: “I’m saying the act of not choosing models of colour is racist. So… we’re not calling them racist, we are saying the act is racist… What we are asking for is that you are based on your talent, on your beauty, not on the colour of your skin.”
Emeli’s parents were bullied because of their race but she says it only made her stronger: ”My parents suffered from racism being a black man and a white woman in the ’80s. It’s always been part of our lives in some way. Luckily, we haven’t suffered or it hasn’t affected our lives too severely. But it’s who I represent, it’s who I am, and it’s made me a much stronger person.”