Clifton Powell Claims Film Executives Once Said ‘He’s So Dark He’s Gonna Scare Everybody’

Veteran Hollywood actor Clifton Powell has appeared in more than 100 films since beginning his career in the entertainment industry in the early 1980s. Powell’s acting credits include cult classics such as “Next Friday” and “Menace II Society” and much more.  

Still, even with more than 30 years to show on his extensive resume, the actor revealed there have been countless times where he was denied an acting opportunity due to his skin tone — an occurrence more and more actors have been coming out about in recent months.

LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 17: Clifton Powell attends the 2018 Soul Train Awards, presented by BET, at the Orleans Arena on November 17, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET)

During a recent virtual interview, the 64-year-old detailed the racism he experienced while on his journey to becoming a household name. “If ya’ll knew how many movies I had… people come to me, and they say, ‘Well, you should be bigger than you are,’ well if I tell you how many times they said I was too Black for the role, you wouldn’t believe it because I don’t talk about it. I don’t play the race card,” the actor said. 

Elaborating on the unsettling instance when the “Civil Brand” actor was up for a major role, which he did not disclose, he said, “If I tell you the truth, I’ve been blocked from a lot of movies. One big movie, the network told the producer, ‘We think he’s so dark he’s gonna scare everybody.’ ” He added, “Which would’ve propelled my career into another level.”

Still, despite facing obstacles as disheartening as the one he told Ayers, Powell clearly has not let that stop him from pursuing his passion or from his opportunity to assist other aspiring actors.

“So I really take the time, and you can hear the passion ’cause I take the time with the young people to try and give them all the stuff that I didn’t know,” he revealed. “All the things, because back in the day ain’t nobody giving you no handouts. There’s no rulebook to this stuff. It’s unyielding faith to make it in the business and make it this far and make a living as an actor.” 

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