Article May 04, 2019

You are no longer passing

Danielle Brooks: ‘I fought colourism by changing my mindset’

Danielle Brooks deals with the lack of representation of dark-skinned women in the mainstream media by showing that you can be an alternative to what’s out there.

The Orange Is the New Black star recalled in an interview with the Guardian U.S. that while she rarely saw people on television or in magazines that looked like her, she chose to fight it by “changing her mindset”.

“I’ve seen what not seeing someone does. People like me were not on TV, not in magazines, not leading shows or plays,” she told the publication. “You end up thinking, ‘Well, I see this woman, she’s light skinned, she has straight hair. I see that’s what they like, so I must not be enough’.

“Instead of soaking in that – that feeling of not doing enough – I fight that by changing my mindset. You have the opportunity to show them something different.”

Danielle, who has previously been tapped to model for designer Christian Siriano, also tries to counter the narrative through other channels too, like songwriting.

“The reason I write songs like Black Woman is for the next generation of young girls to have examples of people saying, ‘You are enough, just the way you are’,” the 29-year-old said.

And the actress, who wants to see more change in Hollywood, starting with hiring more women of colour, believes her message of self-acceptance is empowering for all women.

“So I want to say – not just to dark skin girls, but all women of different shades – to love on each other and talk to one another,” she urged. “Have conversations. We have to verbalize it. Tell each other that you’re beautiful.

“Don’t get caught up in putting each other down. Just know that we are all sisters and we all have struggles.”