When a child aspires to BE somebody in this world, she should never feel slighted because of her hair and especially her skin color. In this day and time those colorism issues still persist along with many other problems girls have in general. And this weekend I took my girls Mikaela and Kaitlin to the Pretty Girls Problem event in Marietta with keynote speaker Keke Palmer and they were inspired and filled up by Keke’s poignant words.
Keke is an inspiration for brown girls around the world because she embodies such a positive spirit, has a vibrant personality and embraces her beauty head on. Keke has also taken Hollywood by storm in her many critical roles, most recently as the first black Cinderella on Broadway, currently in FOX’s Scream Queens and she just landed a role in FOX’s upcoming Grease Live; and let’s not forget how she killed it as the spellbinding brainiac in Akeelah and the Bee.
However her road to the top has been tough and she talked about the difficulties she dealt with carving out her own path to Hollywood.
During her speech to a captivated roomful of young ladies and their moms, Keke detailed her journey to make it in this biz and credited the closeness of her family and especially her mom Sharon, with carrying her through the roughest times. But it was a question about colorism that Keke really took to heart when an aspiring actress, my 11-year-old daughter Mikaela Smith, asked Keke about how she deals with not getting roles because she’s not “light skin or have the long hair.” Keke broke down and shed tears and so did I.
It was truly a pivotal moment because clearly colorism has been an issue which has affected Keke in the past. She also once told the Hollywood Confidential Panel that when she was about 5-years-old she wished to have light skin. But it’s also an issue I’m seeing as Mikaela vie for roles. Many times we can’t even audition because it calls for mixed race or lighter skin black girls and boys and that bothers Mikaela. It bothers me too because a beautiful and talented brown girl is being overlooked because people are stuck on color rather than allowing an actress’ talent to speak for itself.
When Mikaela asked Keke that question, she truly filled her soul by letting her know that her talents have nothing to do with decisions that are made because of what’s on the outside.
Please take a moment and WATCH THE VIDEO.
Said Keke: “I’m hurt by you saying that because those things have nothing to do with you and you can’t take them personal,” Keke said. “And I’m sad because I hope you don’t take it persona,” she told Mikaela and then stopped to grab tissues. “My mother always told me as a kid…and that was probably one of the biggest things that she stressed in the industry that it’s not personal… When you’re getting cast in a film and you don’t get the role and it has something to do on the surface like that, you actually should feel better about it because you know it didn’t have anything to do with your talent. It had nothing to do with how you played the character. It simply had something to do with they wanted a character where mom is white, dad is blackIf you don’t fit that it has nothing to do with you, it has something to do with them.”
Keke then she detailed a time when she auditioned for X-Men and couldn’t get the role to play Halle Berry’s character because she’s not bi-racial.
“They had an audition, put me through the ringer, and I didn’t get it but you know what I said… that’s all right I don’t look like Halle Berry and that’s fine by me.”
“I didn’t allow my ego to make me feel bead.It didn’t have nothing to do with me. I don’t look like Halle Berry.”
Keke’s mom Sharon took the podium to chime in about the color issue and as a lighter skin black woman, talked about her disappointment in how black people still make issues of color in this day and time.
“I just wanted to say that Keke and I have had this conversation and I’m a mother, I’m light skin, I have hazel eyes, and I have another daughter that’s light… That really (inaudible) in our community… I don’t get it… But she’s telling you right baby, that’s not personal. But in our community we got issues with that and I really wish we would deal with that. I don’t know how… but this is my daughter gorgeous and beautiful..” she said about Keke.
This was an amazing event and I wish more moms and daughters knew about it. How wonderful for Keke to take time out of her busy schedule to be a part of this event to empower those young ladies. Keke’s passion is infectious. She is a role model and young people admire people who act in ways that support their beliefs. It helps them understand how their own values are part of who they are and how they might seek fulfilling roles as adults. Through her words, and her actions, Keke is giving back to youth and young girls like Mikaela in a big way.
I just love her for so many reasons and I am thankful Mikaela and Kaitlin got to meet her.
Also global inspirational speaker, Brandi Harvey (daughter of TV/radio host Steve Harvey) also attended the event and hosted a breakout session where she dared the young ladies in attendance to dream. Brandi spoke about the importance of making those dreams come to fruition and believing in your dreams.
For more info check out theprettygirlproblem.com which was created by Chivon Ferguson.
Thank you Pretty Girl Problems for the invite and allowing me to have this amazing experience with my daughters.
ABOUT THE EVENT
The Girl’s Guide To Finding Solutions was a 1-day retreat for mothers and daughters. This event was designed to shine a light on the most common issues faced by both mothers and daughters and offer a real world approach to solutions through conversation, dynamic speakers/facilitators interactive role play, character building activities and communication modules. It is the goal of the retreat to eliminate blame, assign responsibility and identify common ground toward a life well lived.
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