Tika Sumpter is gorgeous, but by now we all know that Hollywood’s beauty standards are still very much white and European.
In an essay for Hello Beautiful, Sumpter revealed what it’s like being dark-skinned in Hollywood. Via Rolling Out, Sumpter explained that her upbringing has helped her navigate Hollywood and instilled a sense of pride about her blackness.
“My mother says that when my father, a striking man with kind eyes, broad shoulders, and deep ebony-brown skin, first saw me in the hospital that day, his eyes lit up brightly as he promptly proclaimed, ’She has my color. She looks like me!’”
However, Sumpter goes on to explain that she sees proof of Hollywood’s relationship with black women in letters and messages from fans.
“Each week I’d get tons of letters from mothers, grandmothers, and young girls literally thanking me for simply existing. They wrote me saying they’d never seen a woman that looked like me on television before, which really meant they’d never seen anyone that looked like them before. And it got much deeper than that. Some fans even remarked that they’d never witnessed any woman with my skin color speak the way I spoke, have a successful career the way I had on that show [CW’s Gossip Girl], or carry themselves in such a ladylike manner.”
Speaking further about the way those around her embraced her dark skin before Hollywood and how it helped her, Sumpter added, “It hurts me to know that so many young girls today are growing up without that same realization and reassurance. I also regret that so many are forced to seek their self-worth between the pages of mainstream magazines or in the background of a rap music video.”
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