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Zoë Kravitz Recalls Growing Up Feeling 'Uncomfortable' With Her Blackness
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Zoë Kravitz Recalls Growing Up Feeling 'Uncomfortable' With Her Blackness

Zoë Kravitz has been receiving a lot of praise for her role as Catwoman in the latest Batman installment. While she played a strong, confident, and powerful woman, in real life the actress didn’t always feel that way. She was born into fame with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz as her parents, both of who are mixed with Black and white heritage. Her grandmother was The Jeffersons actress Roxie Roker and one of the first Black women to be in an interracial couple on primetime TV.


From the outside looking in, you can say that her world has always been Black and white, but it’s more complicated than that. The 33-year-old Big Little Lies star got candid with The Observer about her multi-dimensional experience growing up in Hollywood.

On growing up uncomfortable in her Blackness:

“I felt really insecure about my hair, relaxing it, putting chemicals in it, plucking my eyebrows really thin. I was uncomfortable with my Blackness. It took me a long time to not only accept it but to love it and want to scream it from the rooftops.”

The former LOLAWOLF singer said that her parents never gave her a heads up on the racism she may endure entering Hollywood and didn’t mention whether or not they had that talk in her childhood. What they did do, however, is instill in her that she can do anything she wants no matter the color of her skin.

“They both dealt with being artists who didn’t act or dress or look or sound the way a Black person was supposed to act in terms of what white people specifically were comfortable with,” she said of her parents. Her parents have often been viewed as free spirits in the industry, and as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

On pushing boundaries in acting and facing rejection: 

Zoë wants to push boundaries in the projects that she decides to take on. For example, going after roles that were meant for a white person such as her character in Big Little Lies. Other Black actors like Michael B. Jordan have also shared that they do the same thing. But it took Zoë a minute to land bigger roles. Like many actors, she often faced rejection, which would upset her. But her mom gave her some good ol’ advice.

“Even though it’s sometimes hard to see that in the moment, usually a few years later, you’re like, OK, this is why this didn’t happen.”

On people not being their authentic selves: 

The actress continues to thrive in the face of adversary and in the age of social media and cancel culture, which she points to as the reason why people can’t be their authentic selves. “People are not expressing or doing what they want to do because they’re afraid of getting into trouble,” she said. “We’re not leaving room for growth. It’s all based on shame and fear. It’s completely out of control.”

She even feels that way when it comes to actors landing certain roles and the backlash some face because of it. “The idea of certain actors not being able to play a certain part because you’re not that thing in real life, I think that’s really dangerous,” she said. “Because I don’t know what acting is if we’re not allowed to play someone. It’s about empathy. It’s about stepping outside yourself.”

For more of her interview with The Observer,click here.

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Featured image by Cindy Ord/WireImage via Getty Images

 

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