Hollywood has made little progress in the last century when it comes to colorism. Both dark- and light-skinned Blacks continue to be cast in roles that perpetuate color hierarchy or white supremacy in our communities.
Casting directors are in the habit of only — or mostly — hiring non-European actors and actresses with lighter skin tones because they assume that they will be more attractive to their largely ethnic-European audiences. Dark-skinned Black female actresses are especially negatively impacted by this.
Here are seven ways that Hollywood’s obsession with promoting light skin over dark skin is exposed.
In Hollywood today, the biggest Black entertainers right now could probably all pass a brown paper bag test (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Tyra Banks, Alicia Keys.) The best roles have mostly gone to lighter-skinned or multiracial actresses who fall within Eurocentric standards of beauty, including Berry, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Pam Grier, Shari Belafonte, Rae Dawn Chong, Cynda Williams, Rosario Dawson, Thandie Newton, Zoe Saldana, Rashida Jones and Paula Patton.
Only One Lupita
There has never been a Black actress of Lupita Nyong’o’s ebony skin tone to ascend to Hollywood’s A-list status.