Not all Black people look alike, but for actresses Laura Harrier and Zendaya, more than a few people have struggled to tell them apart. The women appeared together in the 2019 film “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and while filming, she and her co-star frequently mistook one another.
In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, Harrier claims her experience is a symptom of both Hollywood and society’s struggle with colorism. “Some of the most successful actresses of color tend to be on the lighter side, and that’s definitely not okay. There are so many facets to the Black experience.
There are so many ways that Black people look, and only having one narrow view is something that I think is ultimately putting everybody at a disadvantage—we’re only shortchanging ourselves when we don’t show a diverse range of stories and a diverse range of people onscreen,” she said in article published on Sept. 20.
She continued, “I do think it’s something that’s slowly starting to change, but even when we were doing “Spider-Man,” I would get called ‘Zendaya’ all the time. People wouldn’t even take the time to differentiate us.” Harrier, who recently portrayed actress Robin Givens in Hulu’s limited series “Mike,” said that eventually she and Zendaya had to find the humor in the insult.
“It got to the point where we would joke about it a lot. What else are you going to do but laugh because it’s so completely ridiculous,” she said. A prime example of the issue occurred in 2017 when a tabloid published a photo of Harrier and Spider-Man, played by actor Tom Holland, kissing during a scene. She was credited as being the “Euphoria” star.
In a message aimed at Harrier, Zendaya asked, “How many times you bet this is about to happen to us? Lmao.” Harrier responded, “not the first, definitely not the last #smh.” Just this past July, the former “K.C. Undercover” star was the subject of a debate about colorism that pitted her career against Keke Palmer. The point many tried to prove is that Palmer could be even more recognized and celebrated if she were of a lighter complexion, similar to the Emmy-Award winning actress.
Palmer caught wind of the discourse and swiftly shut it down by listing off her impressive achievements, which include multiple firsts for an actor.