USA TODAY US Edition
A SERIOUS SIDE TO THE CELEBRATING
At Essence’s annual Black Women in Hollywood awards luncheon Thursday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, prominent black stars, male and female alike, discussed diversity, inclusion and race in Hollywood and the country at large as they presented awards. But actress Thandie Newton didn’t just discuss women of color: She wore their names on her T-shirt.
The actress, 43, arrived wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Black women are killed by police too” and listed their names. The bottom of the shirt read “Can you see them? #SayHerName.”
“The reason I wanted to wear it today is that I think that in film we have such an incredible influence over the public and influence in the world,” Newton told USA TODAY on the red carpet, adding that the T-shirt was given to her by the African American Policy Forum. “And the stories we tell have the power to change people’s lives. And the women that are named on this T-shirt are dead women who were dead at the hands of police enforcement in this country. These women are our women. They are our fans. ... In death they have got to have the power they deserve.”
Newton says police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement aren’t just about male victims.
“It’s not just men that this happens to,” she says. “But, you know, (women) need our own
Fruitvale Station, we need our own 12 Years a Slave if we want to get historical. Because we have to see racism from the perspective of the female. We have to have a female perspective on that because really, cruelty against a woman is species suicide. And that’s why I see it all as being beneficial to humanity, not just to people of color.”