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Michaela Coel Lists the Racist Experiences That ‘Reinstall’ Her Blackness

Michaela Coel, the actress who brought viewers eccentric but relatable characters in “I May Destroy You” and “Chewing Gum,” is once again proving the ways in which she relates to some of her fans.

While she may be an Emmy-nominated and British Academy Award-winning actress, her fame doesn’t erase certain issues that several other people have to go through. In a recent interview with Elle magazine, Coel opened up about the racial experiences that remind her that despite her phenomenal success she is still a Black woman.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Michaela Coel speaks onstage at Village Underground on April 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

“I am a Black woman, and that will always be true,” she said before beginning to list out the moments she experienced racism. The 33-year-old said, “And, for me, there is nothing like going to a different country where nobody knows me and experiencing the way security guards follow me around the pharmacy or the grocery shop. The dirty looks I receive, the fact that cars don’t want to stop on a zebra crossing.”

She continued, “All these things reinstall that I am a Black woman.” While Coel lives somewhat of a private life, she always finds a way to address important topics to her, like racism, or her sexual assault incident, which she ended up making a show out of called “I May Destroy You.” The London native continued, “As long as these issues are still happening, I am happy to speak, because I could be deluded and forget that that’s a part of me. I’m really lucky that there are places where I’m not known and so it allows me to still experience it.”

In fact, Coel is speaking more about both issues in her soon-to-be-released book called “Misfits: A Personal Manifesto.” The book stems from a speech Coel gave at Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart Lecture where she touched on race, gender, and class.

“Misfits is a triumphant call for honesty, empathy and inclusion. This timely, necessary book is a rousing coming-to-power manifesto dedicated to anyone who has ever worried about fitting in,” says the description.

In the 2018 lecture, Coel put into her own words what a “misfit” is. “The term misfits takes on dual notions,” she said. “A misfit is one who looks at life differently. Many however, are made into misfits because life looks at them differently.”

“​​Misfits: A Personal Manifesto” is set to be released on Sept. 7.

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