In a recent episode of her Archetypes podcast, Meghan Markle discussed some of the roles she took during her acting career and how many of the parts she was offered were stereotypical “Angry Black Women” roles.
Markle’s Fear Of Looking ‘Demanding’ When It Came To Fighting Against Stereotypical Roles
Markle invited writer and comedian Ziwe Fumudoh and actress and writer Issa Rae to have a conversation with her about these stereotypical roles and how she handled them while she was an actress.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype paints Black women as “more hostile, aggressive, overbearing, illogical, ill-tempered and bitter” than their white counterparts. This trope can often be seen on screen, and Markle shared her experiences auditioning for roles that enforced that stereotype.
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“I remember those casting sheets where the description of the character—she always had to have an edge or an attitude,” Markle recalled during the podcast. She also said that she was always afraid to challenge these stereotypes and described herself “cowering and tiptoeing into a room,” because she didn’t want to seem “demanding.”
“The thing I find the most embarrassing is when you’re saying a sentence and the intonation goes up—like it’s a question,” Markle shared. “And you’re like, ‘oh my God, stop stop, like whispering and tiptoeing around it.’”
Issa Rae: ‘I Can’t Lose My Cool’
Markle then asked Rae if she felt she was “allowed” to be angry in certain situations. The Insecure star quickly replied, “Absolutely not. Because I can’t lose my cool. I can’t do that especially as a Black woman but also as a public figure…because people are looking for ways to justify their perception of you.”
However, Markle has clearly learned how to make her voice heard when it comes to issues like this. “You’re allowed to set a boundary,” the Duchess of Sussex explained. “You’re allowed to be clear, [it] does not make you demanding. It does not make you difficult. It makes you clear.”
Markle’s Nigerian Heritage
Markle also revealed the results of a genealogy test she recently took. “[I’m] forty three percent Nigerian,” she shared. “I’m going to start to dig deeper into all this because anybody that I’ve told, especially Nigerian women, are like ‘What!'”
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Markle’s Archetypes podcast works hard to “investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.” Her latest episode is an excellent look at the judgments many make about women of color, and how important it is to speak out against those stereotypes.