Alexandra Shipp: You Can’t Tell Me That I Can’t Play A Woman Of Color

Shipp talked about the backlash she’s faced as a biracial actress for taking roles like that of Storm.

"What I experienced on Twitter which I personally, had no idea the grandiose of speaking on it, I was speaking on a personal experience and I feel like I was this metaphorical straw that broke this interracial camel’s back. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone, but at the same time if my work offends you, let’s take a step back and ask why my personal experience is offensive to you? When we’re talking about the reality of the situation, I’m not wearing black face, I’m not putting on a prosthetic nose or lips, I’m not trying to kink my hair up so that I can have a fro, I have a fro. I wake up with it every morning and I go to bed with it every night. But if someone said, ‘Alex, we want you to play this historical figure but we’re going to have to darken you up’, I would respectfully decline. I would be like there are so many incredible actresses that don’t have to alter their appearances that would do this job justice, but as a woman of color, you can’t tell me that I can’t play a woman of color because I don’t match the Crayola marker from 1975 when they drew the comic, that makes no sense.”

"The way I see that I can affect social change within my industry is by working really hard and taking on roles that make people uncomfortable, that’s the whole point of theatre. It’s getting those roles and saying, I’m not playing a black woman, I’m playing a woman, that’s how you move the conversation and change the way people look at women of color in film. The way to true understanding is to start a conversation.”

"Majority of the time it’s like, oh you should give up the role in order to allow other actresses and I’m like, you guys know that if I don’t take it, there’s a girl below me and if she doesn’t take it, there’s a girl below her. If all of us banned together in a perfect world and say no, this is meant for a dark-skinned actress, the studio would say you’ve lost your damn mind and hire a younger, light skinned actress. The only way we can create social change is not by denying ourselves roles but taking the roles, saying not only am I a black woman, I’m my own black woman."