Loretta Devine On Being Impacted By Colorism In Hollywood: 'It Was Always About My Talent'
Photo Credit: TV One

Loretta Devine On Being Impacted By Colorism In Hollywood: 'It Was Always About My Talent'

Through every project, Loretta Devine proves just how talented she is. Devine shined on Broadway stages as Lorrell alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jennifer Holiday in Dreamgirls. Since then, she’s made her mark in the television and film industry with iconic roles in Waiting to Exhale, the television drama Boston Public, and is now in the Netflix comedy Family Reunion — just to name a few.

Subscribe to Shadow and Act’s Opening Act podcast.

Despite her gifts, she says the color of her skin has been somewhat of a downfall in her career, specifically in terms of working with people behind the scenes who are not people of color. In her upcoming episode of TV One’s Uncensored, special, Devine opens up about how she’s been affected by colorism.

“Most of the movies I’ve done all my life were Black movies,” the 72-year-old icon explains in a preview clip. “And most of the hair people are also Black. Amazingly, now later in life, I’m getting a chance to work with some of the white stars and a lot of times when you have to go to Canada and do a film they have people there that don’t have a clue about what to do about how you look.”

As a result, Devine says she figured out a way to ensure she looks her best self on camera. Unfortunately, the trick no longer works. 

“I’ve always cheated,” she admits. “I’d go and do my own makeup after they do it. You can’t do that anymore because everything now is high definition and then you’re making it worse.”

She says colorism wasn’t really addressed until Spike Lee’s classic film School Daze, which chronicles the lives of students attending an HBCU who are in different sororities and fraternities based on their skin color. 

“When it comes to colorism, a lot of this stuff came out when Spike Lee did his films and all of the stuff about him putting the light-skinned girls in one hotel and the darker girls in another hotel,” she says. 

Still, she’s gained success by ignoring it all.

“I never thought about my look so much, it was always about my talent,” she says.

Devine’s Uncensored episode airs August 29 at 10 p.m.

Watch the preview below:

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2023 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.