British Actress Michaela Coel: Media Has Dehumanized Blacks & Disempowered Women Since It Existed
British actress/writer, Michaela Coel spoke out against the media’s treatment toward blacks and women.
She recently sat down with British GQ and first discussed her newest show, “I May Destroy You.”
This ground-breaking British comedy-drama series centers around her character Arabella, who must rebuild her life after her drink was spiked and she struggles to remember what happened to her, all while delving into the topics of sexual assault and consent.
She said the HBO hit, in many ways, parallels her personal life. In August 2018, she shared that she was sexually assaulted by strangers and was still pressured to deliver the scripts for her television show, Chewing Gum, on time. She stated back then,
It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers. The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers,”
She added that the producers were,
“teetering back and forth between the line of knowing what normal human empathy is and not knowing what empathy is at all.”
Now, she’s opening up about her personal experiences with sexual assault, racism, and being a black woman portrayed on television and in media. Michaela Coel expressed,
Who would have known that we would be where we are right now politically, in terms of police brutality, racism, the coronavirus and the inherent sort of strange biases that this virus has? Although everything is heartbreaking, I feel quite grateful to be able to present a show to the world that humanizes us right now. I think that since the media has really even existed, it has dehumanized black people. In many ways, it’s dehumanized and disempowered women. To be within the media, to challenge that, and to present us as fluid, multi-dimensional human people, just like everybody else, feels like a really amazing privilege.
She also explained how she processes racial events in the times of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
I feel like there is something that feels like you’re hitting against a brick wall in terms of the government, the way the police system is run and the systematic racism that permeates through.
Michaela Coel does have hope, though. She mentioned,
I, for some reason, have this sense of hope. I feel very proud of the way we’re coming together, even if it’s just to stand there in solidarity.
Surrounding the topic of women in media, Coel states,
I think that the privilege that I have in this situation is that I have essentially tried to subconsciously make myself indispensable, so I’ll star in the thing, I’ll write the thing, I’ll co-direct the thing, I’ll executive produce the thing. I’ll write every single word of it, which means it means that it would be very hard to drive me out. However, I think that, for many of my peers, it’s really hard as a black woman in this industry.
What are your thoughts on Michaela Cole’s remarks? Let us know in the comments.