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As a light-skinned black woman, I have been asked why I don’t look like other black people. When I was a kid, after making a friend by the pool, my new friend told me her mom could not see me because she was not allowed to have black friends. It was all very hurtful because it made me struggle with my identity. I didn’t know how to react, how to respond, or how to control my emotions. I just had to learn that we cannot control the way we look. We just are who we are.
Recently I was cast as a black woman and I’m going to appear in two movies. Being black and being a woman is a disadvantage in Hollywood. We get paid less than our white counterparts. There is also a lack of representation in front of the camera and behind the camera. The black experience is not a monolith, we are much more than a stereotype. I would love to see more movies where being black is just secondary and our main characteristics and attributes strengthen the story of the movie.
If I could make my own movie, it would be of a young black girl who is good at mathematics and who accomplishes her dreams with the support of her family and community. We need more movies with great black role models for children. I would be her aunt who lives in New York and who shows her that anything is possible.