Gabourey Sidibe on Black Actresses on TV: ‘We've Always Been Here'

Photo by Desiree Navarro/ Getty
"Just because you're looking now doesn't mean that we haven't been here, or that we haven't been talented all this time," says the Empire star.

Gabourey Sidibe is basking in the glow of the success of Empire.

The show has been so impactful that we often forget it’s relatively new. “I keep reminding people that Empire has been on for less than a year,” said Sidibe at New York Women in Film and Television's Muse Awards, where she was being honored.

Some would say the Oscar-nominated actress was part of a banner year for Black women on TV, where Black actresses were the leads in three primetime TV shows (Empire, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder). “I think we did pretty well in 2015,” she said.

“While I'm excited about it, I'm also disappointed it's taken this long. We've always been here. Just because you're looking now doesn't mean that we haven't been here, or that we haven't been talented all this time. We have been.

“Thank you for paying attention, now get out of my way and allow me to do more work.”

And “more” she is. Sidibe is also writing her first book, slated for a 2017 release. During her 6-week hiatus from Empire—which returns in March—she’s planning a short getaway. “I’m just going to take 10 days or so, rent a house by myself and write as much as I can before I can go back to work.”

She describes the book as part memoir and collection of essays. “It’ll be like, ‘This is what I think about money, and this is what I think about makeup, or shoes, or divorce.'"

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