The Hate U Give: The erasure of dark-skinned black women in Hollywood.

Updated: Aug 9, 2018

By Maia Fulton


Some of you may know Amandla Stenberg for playing rue in 2012 film, “The Hunger Games”. They’ve starred in several movies since their breakout role but their latest role in particular has sparked a lot of debate and rightfully so. Stenberg is set to play a 16 year old girl who witnesses the fatal shooting of her black boyfriend in the film adaption of the book, “The Hate U Give”. This spark controversy because the character in the book is a dark-skinned black girl however, casting directors chose a light-skinned black girl to play the role. Some may not see this as a problem because Amandla is still black, however, it is a major problem that isn’t talked about enough.

Actually, it’s talked about a lot amongst dark-skinned women who feel that they aren’t properly being represented in media however we are never heard.

It’s no secret that black women are often associated with the “angry black woman” archetype any time they speak up for an issue they have. Whether is sexism, racism or colorism. It’s already hard enough to get hollywood to properly represent black women without subjecting them to racist stereotypes so it makes the fight even harder when dark-skinned women are ignored.

Colorism is a product of racism that has plagued the black community since slavery and it has transcended into media and how black women are portrayed. It has become so imbedded into our society, that we don’t even notice colorism sometimes even when it's right in our face.

The illustrator of the book, Debra Cartwright, stated that she “wasn’t thrilled” about the movie poster being that her illustration was of a dark-skinned black girl. "I was hoping it would be a very brown-skinned actress, because there's so little opportunities in these big movies for darker-skinned actresses,"

Choosing light-skinned actors/actresses to play the roles of dark-skinned people not only eliminates opportunities and representation for a number of black people, it is Hollywood directly saying how much they value dark-skinned actors/actresses.

It’s no secret that black women are often associated with the “angry black woman” archetype any time they speak up for an issue they have. Whether is sexism, racism, or colorism. It’s already hard enough to get Hollywood to properly represent black women without subjecting them to racist stereotypes so it makes the fight even harder when dark-skinned women are ignored. They want to feel represented, not just the ones that are aesthetically pleasing to look at based off of European beauty standards.

123 views2 comments