Meghan Markle knows all too well the struggle of being labeled “difficult,” and she’s opening up about it on her podcast.
During two candid discussions with Issa Rae and Ziwe Fumudoh on Tuesday’s episode of Archetypes, the Duchess of Sussex discussed the harsh reality of the angry Black woman trope, something they’ve all unfortunately navigated throughout their lives and careers. And it’s definitely interesting timing considering last week the momma of two was essentially slammed for being too difficult after she complained about her time on Deal or No Deal.
Issa began by reflecting on what it is like to be a Black woman in the entertainment industry and the challenges of being labeled in such a way since it can essentially end your career. For her, she’s leaned on advice other Black women gave her — which was to never be “afraid to be a bitch.” LOLz! She also addressed how she took a friend calling her “particular” as a compliment, saying:
“To me, that means I have a sense of what I want.”
A great way to look at it! Meghan agreed, elaborating on why she thinks it’s perfectly okay to be direct about what you need and your expectations, adding:
“I’m particular. A. I think a high tide raises all ships — we’re all going to succeed, so let’s make sure it’s really great because it’s a shared success for everybody. But I also know that I will find myself cowering and tiptoeing into a room — I don’t know if you ever do that, the thing that I find the most embarrassing — when you’re saying a sentence and the intonation goes up like it’s a question. And you’re like, ‘Oh my God, stop!’ Stop whispering and tiptoeing around and say what it is you need. You’re allowed to set a boundary, you’re allowed to be clear. It does not make you demanding, it does not make you difficult. It makes you clear.”
Prince Harry’s wife then wondered:
“Was there a point in your life, and maybe it still happens to you now, because of the archetypes, especially as a Black woman, do you feel that you’re allowed to be angry in certain moments?”
The Insecure creator candidly admitted the color of her skin and her place in the spotlight have forced her to find ways to manage her anger and keep it away from the public:
“Absolutely not. Because I can’t lose my cool, I can’t do that, especially as a Black woman, but also just even as a public figure now. Because people are looking for ways to justify their perception of you. That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry. That might mean that I will vent my frustrations to someone that I trust, get it out of my system, and then go in fix mode. And I think even personality wise, I’m always like, I don’t want to sit in my anger too long anyway because what does that do? I want to work on fixing something, but I want to be allowed to have that emotion because it’s a natural…like, it’s an emotion.”
Meghan went on to praise the writer for creating “nuanced, layered, multifaceted women” in her shows, something the Suits alum didn’t see when she was auditioning. She explained:
“I mean, I remember when I was auditioning, the idea of even Black roles, I remember those casting sheets where the description of the character, she always had to have an edge or an attitude.”
Not a good stereotype to keep perpetuating…
Later, Meghan sat down with comedian Ziwe, during which the royal revealed she “just had genealogy done a couple years ago” and it revealed she was 43% Nigerian. Wow! Now, Markle hopes she can learn more about her background:
“I’m going to start to dig deeper into all this because anybody that I’ve told, especially Nigerian women, are like ‘What!’”
Ziwe, who is Nigerian-American, was thrilled with the news, cheering:
“This is huge for our community. No, honestly, you do look like a Nigerian, you look like my Aunt Uzo. So this is great.”
Getting back to the angry Black woman trope, the Baited star said interviewers often tell her they’re “terrified” of her. (Side note: who would say that?!) She revealed:
“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, that hurts my feelings. I’m a sensitive Pisces. Like, I don’t want you to be scared of me. That’s not my goal.”
The Yearly Departed alum says much of her personality contradicts how women are supposed to act, “according to sexism,” she dished:
“I grew up with culturally conservative parents who had a really like strict understanding of women, what women did and how they lived and they cooked and cleaned, etc. And so, from that understanding, I also exist in society and I know what the expectations are of women there as well. And these things correlate. And so to be the character of Ziwe that is brash and rude and thoughtful is in direct opposition to what a woman should be publicly, according to sexism.”
All the more complicated when you’re conditioned to act a certain way in childhood. It’s so wrong these women — and so many others — are faced with dealing with this negative trope on a daily basis. This seriously needs to stop! Really, it’s just another way of keeping BIPOC out of leading roles, whether in business, or entertainment, or most facets of life. We should be praising these “difficult” women for speaking their minds and being clear and open communicators. Thoughts?! Let us know (below)!
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