Actress Tessa Thompson is no stranger to speaking up for Black women.
As one of artists and activists in Hollywood who created the #TimesUp movement in response to sexual assault, equity and equal pay in the workplace, the Thor and Dear White People star has made it clear that she’s willing and ready to bring that message to a global stage — and to women who look like her.
At ESSENCE’s Black Women In Hollywood Awards on Thursday — where Thompson is being honored — she spoke with ESSENCE Now host Makho Ndlovu and Digital Director Yolanda Sangweni about the importance of continuing the movement to dismantle patriarchy and why Black women should be involved.
“Things that affect women disproportionately affect us,” she explained.
Black women have historically fought to end sexual assault and pay inequality, even if their stories aren’t widely shared. During this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah evoked that fighting spirit when she mentioned late activist and rape survivor Recy Taylor, who devoted her life to advocating for women after a brutal kidnapping and assault in 1944. And in the wake of a new, viral #MeToo hashtag, original campaign creator Tarana Burke continues to lead that fight while keeping Black women and girls at the forefront.
For Thompson, that fight isn’t going anywhere.
“It’s important that we’re in those spaces, in those rooms and have a seat at the table,” she said. “And that we are given agency.”