British star Thandiwe Newton broke down in tears and offered an apology to “darker-skinned” actresses for being the “one chosen.”
Thandiwe, formerly known as Thandie, made the bizarre statement during an interview with the Associated Press about her new movie God’s Country — which centers on a woman confronting two white hunters who trespass on her property.
“I now realize that my internalized prejudice was stopping me from feeling like I could play this role when it’s precisely that prejudice that I’ve received,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that it is from African American women more than anyone else. Doesn’t matter. I received prejudice. Anyone who’s received oppression and prejudice feels this character.”
Thandiwe Newton plays a woman confronting white hunters in the Sundance film "God's Country." She says she's struggled with a different type of prejudice in the U.S. as a light-skinned Black British actor. pic.twitter.com/mAccJ9rA5s
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) February 2, 2022
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Newton, whose mother is Zimbabwean and father is white, added that she’s been given opportunities because of her light skin.
“I’ve wanted so desperately to apologize every day to darker-skinned actresses,” she said as she broke down in tears. “To say, ‘I’m sorry that I’m the one chosen.’ My mom looks like you.”
“It’s been very painful to have women that look like my mom feel like I’m not representing them,” she added. “That I’m taking from them. Taking their men, taking their work, taking their truth.”
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Newton’s comments drew mixed reaction. Writer Keka Araújo responded with an opinion piece in Black Enterprise calling the actress’ statements “rich.”
“If the 49-year-old actress’ goal was to gain understanding, she failed miserably,” Araújo wrote. “Her insecurities and assigning blame to Black American women for her pain is rich given last year she said, she ‘didn’t want to be put in a box’ over her skin color.”
Over on Twitter, @AsanteTheAuthor wrote: “I don’t recall darskin [sic] Women or darkskin Black American Women hating on Thandiwe Newton. I never hated on her. We don’t think about her, let alone hate on her.”
Twitter user @Tiniwana added: “Thandiwe Newton is going through something deep right now. The reafricanisation of her name, the tears about being the one chosen. I truly believe someone called her the n word with the hard R and she realised she was half black African for the first time.”
Twitter user @callmedollar wrote, “Thandiwe Newton should’ve just wrote in her journal.”
Last year the actress changed her first name from Thandie to its original Zimbabwean spelling of Thandiwe. “I’m taking back what’s mine,” she told British Vogue.
Newton is best known for her roles on the HBO series Westworld, and the films For Colored Girls, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Crash.