Before landing ABC’s hit drama Scandal,Kerry Washington says she was let go from several television projects for not fulfilling Hollywood stereotypes of black women.
“For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more ‘girlfriend,’ more like ‘hood,’ more ‘urban,’” she explained.
But Washington isn’t alone. She recounted past conversations she’s had with friends who recalled similar experiences they faced when overcoming Hollywood stereotypes.
Ansari chimed in with his own stories of casting stereotypes, saying he’s found out after the fact that he booked certain roles because they were looking for a specific look. The actor and comedian even addressed the issue in an episode of Master of None.
“A lot of other minority actors have told me, ‘Oh, this so rings a bell,’ when you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you and you just start feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m not here [for me]. I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want in here,’” the former Parks and Recreation star said.