Denzel Washington Says Colorism Shouldn’t Be An Excuse for Black Actors

In a recent interview with BET while promoting “Fences,” Denzel makes it clear that colorism shouldn’t hold black actors back and he feels colorism shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone to not succeed in the business.

In fact, he thinks Viola Davis is proof of his feelings.

BET writes:

Asked if colorism holds dark-skinned actors and actresses back in show business, Denzel replies, “One of the best roles for a woman of any color in the last, in a good good while or at least any movie that I’ve been in, a dark-skinned woman has in this film. So as long as you’re being lead by outside forces or just being reactionary then you won’t move forward. You have to continue to get better.”

However, he goes on to add, “You can say, ‘Oh I didn’t get the part because they gave it to the light-skinned girl, or you can work, and one day, it might take twenty years, and you can be Viola.” He continues, “The easiest thing to do is to blame someone else, the system. Yeah, well, there’s a possibility, maybe, that you’re not good enough, but it’s easy to say it’s someone else’s fault. But there’s a possibility that you’re not ready and you can still blame it on someone else instead of getting ready.”

2 of 2Next


  1. It’s so annoying when people who wouldn’t be affected by colorism try to deny it’s a thing. I’m more interested in hearing what Viola has to say about the subject than Denzel.

  2. Viola went through a lot to get where she is. And the point is a lot of black women who aren’t racially ambiguous looking have the same story. Meanwhile, a lot of racially ambiguous women don’t have the same experiences. It’s ok to call a spade a spade.

  3. I think he believes working hard for what you without letting obstacles get in the way leads to success, he”s had flops and he has also made wonderful movies but he didn’t let the flops or the struggles he most likely had early in his career stop him from becoming a great actor. Had he worded his thought properly this could have been a very empowering interview

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