‘Star Trek’s’ Zoe Saldana on racism: ‘I’m not going to talk about it’
By CNN Staff
(CNN) — Zoe Saldana is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses, and she’s making headlines as Uhura in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” She crossed barriers as the lead in “Avatar,” the highest grossing movie of all time. But how does being a woman of color impact her career choices and options? The actress, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, spoke about it in an interview with Ebony magazine’s Kelley L. Carter:
EBONY: Speaking of color, it doesn’t seem to limit you. And it almost appears seamless. Is that true? Or have there been bumps along the way because you’re a woman of color?
Zoe Saldana: Nothing in life is just one layer. It’s one-layered (but) it’s multifaceted, and there are various factors that take place into making a decision or something happening. So the one thing I will say is, what has not changed is what I feel and think of myself and how I interact with the world, how I handle myself. I feel like I’m very confident. I’m going to have my moments of weakness, but I like who I am and I don’t want to be anybody else. I don’t want anybody to tell me to change when I don’t want to change.
So that’s just who I am. And when I approach something—whether I’m fighting for a role or I’m being offered a role—I’m not thinking whether or not anybody is doing me a favor or if I’m doing somebody else a favor. I’m just thinking, as an artist and as a woman, “is this something that best represents the craft that I want to be known for?” Or is this an accurate representation of what a woman is supposed to be?
And do I like this story? Do I like this director? Do I think the studio is going to manage and sell it properly. That’s where my head is at. I’m not thinking, “Oh, I’m a woman of color, are they gonna want me?” I don’t give too much energy to that, because my time is very valuable, and something that exists to others is not going to exist in my world. That’s how I think I get by, by not giving it any validation by wasting more time investing into thinking about it.
EBONY: That’s profound.
Zoe Saldana: Yeah. Morgan Freeman said it. And I was just told this when I was doing an interview: He’s not going to talk about racism. I’m not going to talk about it. Yeah, it’s an elephant. We all see it, we all know it, but I’m not going to carry it in my heart, because I want to be a person that embodies change. Not embodies war or battles or bitterness; I want to keep moving on.
Saldana is probably referring to Freeman’s 2006 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace. The two were discussing black history month, when Wallace asked Freeman: “How are you going to get rid of racism?”
“Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man,” Freeman said to Wallace. “And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You wouldn’t say, ‘Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.’ You know what I’m sayin’?”
Recently, Saldana has been revealing more about herself during her press tour. She has spoken about why she couldn’t pose for every magazine, a revealing magazine photo spread, the controversy around her playing Nina Simone, and that she is “open to being with a woman.”
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