Naomie Harris says black women have been “over-represented” in roles with “negative stereotypes” and those are the parts she would never take up.
Talking about her role in the Oscar-winning Moonlight, the actor said she has always tried to portray minorities in a positive manner.
Harris, 42, played Paula, a drug addict and mother to lead character Chiron (Ashton Sanders).
“I’ve always said that I will never play a kind of stereotypical black woman’s role. So I felt as a black woman I’d been far too over-represented in the role of a prostitute and crack addict and these kinds of negative stereotypes, so I said I would never play a crack addict.
“I have always said from the beginning of my career that I only want to portray positive representations of black people in general and black woman in particular. So I made that very clear to my representation from the very, very beginning so I think they were really hesitant about coming to me with this script,” she said at the GQ Heroes summit.
The Skyfall star went on to explain that despite having “reservations” upon reading the script for the 2016 drama, directed by Barry Jenkins, she was “moved” by the story.
“They said it’s by this filmmaker and he’s really incredible and we think the script is really incredible as well. I came to it with all these reservations I was like ‘I’m not gonna like this; this isn’t the kind of thing that I want to do’.
“But I read it and was welling up with tears and I was so moved by it and I thought it was such a beautiful story,” Harris said.