Empire star Grace Gealey says she was surprised to learn how Black people in America deal with color and complexion.
Grace, who comes from the Cayman Islands, opened up to Details magazine about her thoughts on colorism and admits to being taken aback at how divided Black Americans are based on skin tone.
DETAILS: You moved to the U.S. when you were 18. What surprised you the most about American women?
Grace Gealey: For me personally, it’s the whole light-skinned/dark-skinned dynamic [for women of color]. I mean, there’s competition among women everywhere you go. But back home we understand that you can look like a variety of things and still be from the same culture. What I’m saying is that I’ve never felt like I was a light-skinned black woman. Never felt that way because we shared the same culture back home. But when I came to America, that’s when I started to feel that there was a lot of push-back from women. I was definitely made aware that I am light-skinned. I realized that was a thing here.
DETAILS: What kind of thing?
Grace Gealey: It was something that people felt the need to point out. I guess maybe it’s a form of intra racism: I was discriminated against for being light-skinned and there were a lot of labels. Some people assumed that guys might like me more because of my complexion or that I had it easier in general. Which is funny because I’ve been a victim of prejudice as well: There were times when I have walked into a Rite Aid at 12 o’clock at night and had the store manager stand in the corner and stare at me while I was looking at nail polishes.
It’s interesting to read a different perspective on race issues within the Black community. You can read more from Grace’s interview here.