Tyrese Gibson has opened up about the colorism he’s experienced while working in the film industry.
The F9 star told Leah’s Lemonade that he lost a lot of roles to his friend and colleague Terrence Howard due to colorism.
“Terrence Howard has no idea how many roles that I was about to book and they went with him because he’s the lighter-skinned black man with the green eyes,” the 42-year-old actor said. “It’s crazy to me, like, I’m No. 1. I’m the star. I’m this blue-black, you know, all of the things that I was laughed about in the ‘hood.”
Gibson also commended the work of Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis—and others like them—saying that now, there is “this shift that has happened. I think we should all stay humble because it’s interesting how white people created this kind of colorism. The mixed-race gets to be in the house and the black blacks get to work in the hot sun and pick cotton.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he discussed the colorism he experienced as a child. “Throughout my whole childhood, it was not cool to be dark skin in the hood. It was always the light-skinned black people that seemed to have gotten all the attention and all the love and considered pretty, or attractive, or handsome,” Gibson said. “And since I’ve been in Hollywood we dealt with the same thing.”
Despite his feelings, there isn’t any resentment between Gibson and Howard. Gibson revealed that he recommended Howard for his forthcoming thriller film The System, which Gibson produces and stars in.
“We’re able to joke about it now. I was the star of the film. They had an idea to go with someone else, who I won’t mention, and then I suggested Terrence Howard,” Gibson explained. “And he thanked me for like, a week straight.”
Gibson recently starred in F9: The Last Saga, which earned the biggest opening at the box office since the outset of the pandemic with $500 million earned globally.