Thandiwe Newton broke into tears while addressing colorism in the film industry.
The 49-year-old actress recently spoke to the Associated Press about her film “God’s Country,” which sees her play a grieving woman who confronts a pair of hunters on her property.
Newton has received a fair amount of praise for her role, which examines, among other things, her race.
“I now realize that my internalized prejudice was stopping me from feeling like I could play this role, when it’s precisely that prejudice that I’ve received,” she told the outlet. “Doesn’t matter that it’s from African American women more than anyone else – it doesn’t matter. I received prejudice.”
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In fact, she said that “anyone” who has experienced prejudice could relate to her character of Sandra.
“I’ve wanted so desperately to apologize every day to darker-skinned actresses, to say ‘I’m sorry that I’m the one chosen, my momma looks like you,'” she said as she became emotional and buried her face in her hand.
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Newton’s mother is Nyasha Newton, a member of a noble family of the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe.
“It’s been very painful to have women that look like my mom feel like I’m not representing them, that I’m taking from them – taking their men, taking their work, taking their truth,” the actress continued with tears in her eyes. “But I do think that any women of color – whether they’re pale or whatever – who’ve managed to help other actors get into this business, we matter.”
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Newton continued: “Whenever they say that Black women have watched the movie and it’s really, really, really mattered to them, I just thank God that my light skin didn’t stop that from happening. That it didn’t cause more pain.”
Just last year, Newton, who had previously gone by Thandie, reclaimed the original spelling of her name, after dropping the “W” when she was in school in an effort to minimize the discrimination against her as a young Black girl.
“That’s my name. It’s always been my name,” she said in an interview with British Vogue at the time. “I’m taking back what’s mine.”
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The name means “beloved” in the Zimbabwean language of Shona.
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In recent years, the actress has been praised for portraying strong Black women in genre film and television thanks to her roles in “Westworld” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
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