Michaela Coel has gained fans across the globe through her roles in Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You and more.
Now, the Emmy-nominated actress is slated to star in the next Black Panther film. In a new interview, the actress talked about having to deal with racism and sexism as a Black woman in the limelight.
She told the publication, “I am a Black woman and that will always be true. 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. All these things reinstall that I am a Black woman. 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.”
When asked how being Black has affected her experience in Hollywood, Coel replied, “Perhaps they’ll say, ‘You can talk about these statistics about women in TV, Black people in TV and diversity. We could give you stats about streaming services and whatever it is.’ But that wouldn’t be me giving a speech. So I wrote, as I often do, from some sort of instinct, and my first draft of it feels like a time I was still piecing things together, still not quite understanding the gravity of both my experiences in television and my assault. And as I redrafted and redrafted, things became clearer to me about my situation and the vulnerability of the whole thing.”
She continued, “Just all of the experiences in TV, the racism. All the things that seem, when you don’t put them together, you can almost avoid. And then when you piece them together, it presents itself as a worrying and unjust picture within the context of obviously having incredible opportunities. And should it be like that? Does it have to be like that for everybody else?”
Fans cannot wait to see Coel in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is due next July.