In an interview in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, actress Danai Gurira discusses Hollywood’s diversity problem head on. She also opens up about her reluctance to both accept the label “minority” and to have her projects classified as “minority stories.”
“I never consider myself a minority. I see people who look like me in Barbados, in Trinidad, in Haiti, in London, and in Brooklyn. So I don’t know what the heck anyone means when they call me a minority. “There’s something about that word to me. It just minimalizes people.”
“If a story is telling a truth, then why shouldn’t it affect everybody?..I’ve been affected by [the work of] white men before. Why can’t black women on stage tell stories that can affect white men in the audience?”
Gurira who was born in Iowa, but raised in Zimbawe has starred in The Walking Dead, and recently earned six Tony nominations for her play, Eclipsed—the first to feature an all-black, all-female cast, director, and writer. In fact, all of Gurira’s plays tell the stories of African women.
After her first play, Into the Continuum was playing off Broadway she realized she could “create opportunities through my story-telling for people of African descent.”
“It’s something I’ve constantly found shocking—all this astounding talent amongst black woman that never gets to be seen or heard.”
Gurira’s resume speaks for itself. She is unapologetically black and makes a point to get the stories of black women told. That aside, her “I’m not a minority” stance has the potential to ruffle some feathers. In America the term “minority” is a label that most people of color accept without question, so it will be interesting to see how the public responds.