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Vanessa Williams: Hollywood is Biased 'No Matter How Fair Your Skin Is'

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Vanessa Williams, wearing a dress designed by Azadeh, attends the National Corporate Theatre Fund 2013 Chairman’s Award Gala at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Vanessa Wiliams
Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Vanessa Williams says getting a good role in Hollywood is hard for Black actresses, no matter their complexion. Speaking to The Grio ahead of her role in the small-screen adaptation of the Broadway play, The Trip to Bountiful (the Lifetime movie premieres this Saturday, March 8), the actress said the playing field is not any easier for lighter-skinned women.

“It’s hard to get good roles anyway, no matter how fair your skin is…no matter how brown your skin is," she said while praising the success of Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.

"Lupita did a phenomenal job," she said. "She’s a brilliant actress… she’s amazing because she embodied that role and made you feel.”

Contrary to Williams, Ride Along star Tika Sumpter says she's experienced the opposite in her career.

“I’ve never had to deal with the colorism thing, really. I just walk in, wherever I’m going, as a confident woman. I don’t have to say that I’m a Black actress," Sumpter told The Grio.

“But I’m glad that we’re representing [Lupita Nyong'o and I] for people who feel underrepresented,” she added. “Every shade is beautiful."

What do you think of Williams' take on colorism in Hollywood?

POLL: Have you ever experienced colorism?

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