7 Dark-skinned Actresses You Need to Be Following

The upcoming movie The Hate U Give premiered it’s first  trailer during the BET awards on June 28. The Hate U Give film is based on the best selling novel by Audrey Wells and describes it’s lead character, Starr, as a dark skinned, young black woman with an afro. In the film, Starr is played by Amandla Stenberg.

Amandla Stenberg, a biracial, light skin actress, does not match this description. This comes as a surprise to fans of the actress as she previously spoke about Hollywood’s issue with casting women of a darker complexion announcing that she rejected a role in Black Panther because she wanted a dark skin black actress to have the opportunity to offer representation to young black women.

This is not the first time that Hollywood has cast a lighter skinned black woman to play the role of a woman who is of darker skin. In 2016, Zoe Saldana was casted to play  Nina Simone. There’s also the role Marvel’s Storm, depicted in several comic books as having dark skin, portrayed by Halle Berry. It is clear that we have a long way to go until we reach proper representation for all black women.

It didn’t take long for fans of The Hate U Give to take to social media to express their thoughts on Hollywood’s issue with colorism. Many agreed that lighter skinned actresses are often offered more roles in television and film and as a result easy to name. In an attempt to stop end this overused excuse, here is my list of young dark skinned black actresses that both you and Hollywood should know.

Skai Jackson (16)

Instagram: @skaiijackson

Where have I seen her?

Skai is most known for her role as sassy little sister, Zuri, on Disney Channel’s Jessie and it’s spinoff Bunk’d. Like her character Zuri, offscreen Skai is also strong and always stands up for herself. She previously went viral for clapping back at rapper Azelia Banks on Twitter.  

Riele Downs (16)

Instagram: @rieledowns

Where have I seen her?

Riele Downs is a Canadian actresses most known for playing Charlotte on Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger. When she is not on screen, Riele likes to design her own clothes and often wears her own creations on the red carpet.  

Jessica Williams (28)

Instagram: @msjwilly

Where have I seen her?

Jessica Williams is a comedian and actresses who was previously a correspondent on The Daily Show. More recently she also starred in a Netflix original, The Incredible Jessica Jones. Later this year, Williams will star in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as Professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks.

Priah Ferguson (11)

Instagram: @priahferguson

Where have I seen her?

On the last season of Stranger Things, Priah stole our hearts as Erica Sinclair, Lucas’s little sister and queen of shade.

Trinitee Stokes (12)

Instagram: @the_trinitee

Where have I seen her?

Trinitee is most known for portraying Zendaya’s robot crime fighting little sister, Judy, on Disney Channel’s KC Undercover. Recently, Trinitee stepped away from the screen and released a book, Bold and Blessed. With her book, she aims to give girls like her advice on issues like rejection and learning to love yourself.

Birgundi Baker (26)

Instagram: @birgundi_baker

Where have I seen her?

You may have seen Birgundi starring alongside Jacob Latimore as his girlfriend Keisha in Showtime’s hit series The Chi. She also stars as Lizzy in the Heathers reboot on TV land.

Ashleigh Murray (30)

Instagram: @iamamurray

Where have I seen her?

Ashleigh Murray plays Josie, the lead singer of Josie And The Pussycats, on the CW’S Riverdale. She also recently starred in a Netflix original, Deidra and Laney Rob A Train. Offscreen, she is a true style icon who is named on the best dressed list of every red carpet event she attends.