Nicole Byer is opening up about an experience when she was told to “be Blacker” by a casting director.
“Usually, they say ‘sassy, more street, more urban,'” the Nailed It! host, 36, told Laverne Cox on E!’s pre-Emmy Awards special If We’re Being Honest.
“But I read [the line], and she was like, ‘Can you be Blacker?'” Byer added of the uncomfortable exchange, which she said happened in her 20s. “I was just playing a fairy. And she was like, ‘Be as Black as you can be. If you go too Black, I’ll bring you back.'”
When Cox, 50, asked her about the casting director’s race, Byer replied, “Oh, you know, she was white like the snow.”
Byer has used her notoriety to speak out about racism in the past, notably after George Floyd’s death in 2020.
In an Instagram post shortly after Floyd’s murder, the actress and comedian shared “a conversation to have with your white child.”
“A good way to explain to kids #blacklivesmatter : ‘you like this black lady right? She’s silly? She makes you tee hee hee? You would be sad if a police officer hurt her right? Well this is the current country we live in where someone you like can be hurt by the color of their skin and people in charge aren’t doing a f—ing (you can replace that with dang if ya kids are soft) thing about it.”
Byer made history as the first Black woman to be nominated for outstanding host for a reality or competition program. After back-to-back nodsin 2020 and 2021, she’s up for a third Emmy in the category this year on top of receiving a separate 2022 nomination for writing her special Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo).
Her versatility as a performer was on display when she served as a guest judge on The Masked Singer earlier this year, stunning panelists Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke by correctly guessing that magician duo Penn Jillette and Teller were underneath the Hydra costume.
We need to start calling out these people by name. That’s the only way they’ll get the message. The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live next Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.