Back in December 2017, actress Alexandra Shipp got into an argument on Twitter when she received backlash for Hollywood casting her as a light-skinned Storm in the X-Men film series. Anyone hoping she was able to understand the problem as time went by will be disappointed to learn her current stance on colorism. As far as Shipp is concerned, her playing Storm should not be an issue.
I like Alexandra Shipp. She is a young actress who is making a name for herself in Hollywood. I also like how opinionated she is. However, I am unable to care for her opinions when she continues to come across as someone who doesn’t understand (or doesn’t want to understand) the issue fans of the X-Men films are talking about.
In her most recent interview, Shipp (who is biracial) continued to double-down on how it is okay for her to play Storm/Ororo Munroe, a dark-skinned mutant who was previously portrayed by Halle Berry (another biracial actress).
[I tweeted back] at people who criticized me for not having dark enough skin for my role in X-Men because we’re not going to have this conversation about a cartoon character. You’re not going to tell me that my skin color doesn’t match a Crayola from 1970. Growing up, when I was reading the comics, I pictured her looking like me. For any black girl, for there to be a black superhero, we picture them looking like us. So when I auditioned for the role, I wasn’t like, “Oh man, I’m not dark enough.” I was like, “Finally, this is my moment.” I’m not playing Harriet Tubman with a prosthetic nose and darkening my skin tone. I would never do that.
She also went on to talk about why she is so opinionated.
I get pushback for things I say on social media, mostly on Twitter, but I hope to never censor the things that come out of my mouth. Male actors have always been able to be way more opinionated when it comes to politics. As actresses, we only get to do things like help the hungry children. Take Angelina Jolie. She’s political in her actions, but you don’t know her opinion on Trump. I think people should speak their truth. I don’t give a fuck. I’m me. I’m exactly who I want to be every single day. I know it might be my demise—I’ll check back in with you in a couple years and see how it’s working out—but I’m my own artist, and you can’t be a great artist without having a huge opinion.
I do agree with her about actresses (and women in general) not being allowed to be as opinionated as their male counterparts. More power to you, Shipp!
What I can’t bring myself to agree with is the way she continues to address the light-skinned Storm issue. If another young actress such as Amandla Stenberg can understand the importance of dark-skinned representation I hope Shipp finds the will to come to such a realization as well. Amandla stepped back from the role of Shuri in Black Panther.
“These are all dark-skinned actors playing Africans, and I feel like it would have just been off to see me as a bi-racial American with a Nigerian accent just pretending that I’m the same color as everyone else in the movie,” said Stenberg. “That was really challenging, to make that decision, but I have no regrets. I recognize 100 percent that there are spaces that I should not take up and when I do take up a space it’s because I’ve thought really, really critically about it and I’ve consulted people I really trust and it feels right.”
Now, that’s how you address the issue of colorism in Hollywood! Shipp is so way off the mark that her comments are painting her as a person who doesn’t care about dark-skinned actresses in the business.
Of course, the online fandom isn’t having it either.
Alexandra Shipp is so disrespectful to darker skinned Black women. Why does she stay reducing their color to a Crayola? Never mind. Fuck her forever and a day.
— ReBecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) July 6, 2018
Alexandra Shipp THIS is Ororo Munroe. pic.twitter.com/QXAWflyKkn
— Courts 🌠 (@CourtZ022) July 6, 2018
Alexandra Shipp is so ignorant. Storm should not be played by a light skinned biracial woman. Storm is Kenyan and dark skin in the comics and that’s how she should be cast. Tired of Hollywood erasing darker skinned black woman with biracial actresses.
— Liviet (@beautifullstyle) July 6, 2018
Also, I love this tweet by @reginaskiplings!
why does alexandra shipp talk like someone with a white mom?
— thor, a black man, (@reginaskiplings) July 6, 2018
Let’s drag Scarlett Johannson into this because she deserves it right now. Ha!
Storm & Natasha Romanoff deserves so much better. Alexandra Shipp & Scarlett Johansson can literally choke.
— vita✨ (@phylavelll) July 6, 2018
I am dying!
I can’t wait for the movie where Scarlett Johansson plays Alexandra Shipp’s mother.
— Michael T Ford III (@MTFIII) July 6, 2018
Here’s to hoping that when the Disney/Fox merger goes through, Disney is able to give us the Storm we have been waiting for. They did an amazing job in Black Panther by casting darker skinned actresses. So, fingers crossed for Storm, too.
— purplegoddess (@purplegoddess69) July 6, 2018
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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