In the past month, several news outlets have reported on recent comments allegedly made by actress Thandie Newton regarding race and the entertainment industry.
Reading the quotes that Newton is to have supposedly given– and based upon the amount of time she’s been a part of the entertainment industry– I must admit that these statements are a bit surprising.
I’m not exactly sure when these statements were made, and I wasn’t able to locate an on-line link to the original interview, but . . .
The Belfast Telegraph, quoting an interview Newton gave to Pride Magazine, reported on 10/15/2011 that Newton is not happy that she hasn’t been on the cover of Vogue:
However, the star can’t understand why Vogue is so against extending the range of models on its front page.
“Don’t get me started on black people being on the cover on big magazines. It’s so preposterous. I mean, I’ve been on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar four times; I’ve been on the cover of InStyle four times, but Vogue, not once,” she explained in an interview with Pride magazine.
“And people say to me, I mean literally, people have said to me, ‘What have you got against Vogue that you don’t want to be on their cover?’ And I just laugh.”
“They [Vogue] don’t feel the need to represent because it doesn’t make any sense to them. It’s just baffling to me, but as usual America will dictate the ways things go and a magazine like Vogue will just follow America,” she said. “But it’s like, don’t you want to trail blaze?”
I don’t know what Newton’s been told, but I think her multiple covers on Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle is more than most black actresses can claim to have accomplished. In my opinion, Newton should be satisfied with all that she’s been able to do so far, because there are many white actresses who haven’t even made the cover of Vogue, let alone a black one. I wish she would ask some of her black counterparts to name the magazines that they’ve been fortunate to grace the covers of. I’m quite sure there would be a whole lot of side-eye action coming her way after posing that question.
Australian website The Age, quoting the same Pride Magazine interview, on 10/12/2011 also reported this month that Newton told a story about being offended when someone dared to compare her to actress Kate Winslet:
“I remember this guy came up to me once, an actor whose name I won’t mention, but a black British actor came up and said, ‘Congratulations Thandie, you’ve done really well, although you know if you had been Kate Winslet your life would have been very different,’ meaning that if I’d been white,” she explained in an interview with Pride magazine.
“I mean I don’t know what he was trying to say. And I just thought ‘wow.'”
“Wow” is the word alright. As in, “Wow. I can’t believe she didn’t already know that.”
Newton supposedly continued her recounting of the experience with the following:
Thandie looked to Michael Jackson for inspiration as a youngster.
The stunning star says the late music icon made her feel accepted.
“I think it’s really important for young people’s sense of self, to feel mirrored and represented. I think it’s crucial,” she said. “When I was a kid I would have to send off for my Michael Jackson posters. He was everything. He was all there was.
“I’d listen to some Thriller with my massive earphones plugged into the stereo; I would just spend all afternoon listening to that album over and over again. I was pretty cut off, it wasn’t like I was living in London, so I was really disconnected from any black community.”
There’s no need for me to comment on that last part. I think that pretty much says it all.
What do you say? Is Thandie Newton right to stand up for herself? Or should she go sit down somewhere?