When good intentions go wrong… “Thandiwe Newton Apologizes to Dark-Skinned Actresses” - The Stylista Group

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When good intentions go wrong… “Thandiwe Newton Apologizes to Dark-Skinned Actresses”

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Brand Rewind

When good intentions go wrong… “Thandiwe Newton Apologizes to Dark-Skinned Actresses”

On February 2nd (2022), in an interview with the Associated Press, Thandiwe Newton made a tearful apology to dark-skinned actors saying that she was sorry that she was the one being chosen. I think it’s important to note that this is not the first time that the actress has spoken up about colorism/racism. In a cover story in British Vogue in 2021, she announced that she was changing her professional name Thandie back to Thandiwe (pronounced tan-DEE-way), her birth name that means “beloved” in Shone, a tribe in Zimbabwe where her great-grandfather was a chief.

Fast-forward to the Associated Press interview, which was being done to promote her latest film, “God’s Country,” she shared that she has been a victim of “a different type of prejudice in the US as a light-skinned Black British actor.” The rest of the interview deteriorated into a rambling string of apologies that included her saying, “I’ve wanted so desperately to apologize for every day to darker-skinned actresses,” she continued, choking back tears. “To say, ‘I’m sorry I’m the one chosen.’” She also apologized to these actresses for “taking their men, taking their work, taking their truth.”

While I honestly think that Thandiwe’s apology came from a well-intentioned place, unfortunately, it was not received as such. Many people took to Twitter to voice their disapproval and confusion over the apology, and some questioned its sincerity given the timing with the release of her new movie.

I’m assuming that Thandiwe was speaking off the cuff and from the heart, which people in the public eye should be careful not to do. Instead, what she could have done, and what she can still do is use her “privilege” and join the ranks of like-minded industry influencers like Issa Rae, Tyler Perry, and DeShuna Spencer, Founder of kweliTV, to create opportunities for darker-skinned actors by setting up new production studios, etc.

The lesson to be learned here is that you should always “think before you speak” when it comes to preserving your personal brand.

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