Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Queen Latifah Will Play Wiz and Mary J. Blige Is Evillene in NBC's Musical Production of 'The Wiz' Queen Latifah Will Play Wiz and Mary J. Blige Is Evillene in NBC's Musical Production of 'The Wiz' NBC Rethinks Broadcast Runs for New Summer Comedies, 'Mr. Robinson' & 'The Carmichael Show' NBC Rethinks Broadcast Runs for New Summer Comedies, 'Mr. Robinson' & 'The Carmichael Show' Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in August Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in August 'Key & Peele' Will End After Its Current Season 'Key & Peele' Will End After Its Current Season Michael B. Jordan Adds Adaptation of Acclaimed Nonfiction Bestseller 'Just Mercy' to His Slate Michael B. Jordan Adds Adaptation of Acclaimed Nonfiction Bestseller 'Just Mercy' to His Slate MSNBC Decides: Touré Is Out, Rev. Al Stays (For Now) MSNBC Decides: Touré Is Out, Rev. Al Stays (For Now) Disney Channel & Disney XD Casting Directors Holding Online Casting Call for Diverse Actors, Age 10-17 Disney Channel & Disney XD Casting Directors Holding Online Casting Call for Diverse Actors, Age 10-17 Revisiting Spike Lee's Perplexing 'She Hate Me' on Its 11th Anniversary Revisiting Spike Lee's Perplexing 'She Hate Me' on Its 11th Anniversary Oprah Winfrey Presents Landmark 7-Night Event Series 'Belief' Premiering October 18 (Trailer) Oprah Winfrey Presents Landmark 7-Night Event Series 'Belief' Premiering October 18 (Trailer) Watch 5 Clips From TV One Original Movie 'Runaway Island' - Premieres This Saturday, July 25 Watch 5 Clips From TV One Original Movie 'Runaway Island' - Premieres This Saturday, July 25 Samira Wiley to Co-Star in Film Based on Kitty Genovese 1964 Murder Samira Wiley to Co-Star in Film Based on Kitty Genovese 1964 Murder MTV Has Made Its 'White People' Documentary Available Online - Watch It Here MTV Has Made Its 'White People' Documentary Available Online - Watch It Here Check Out the Official Theatrical Trailer for Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Check Out the Official Theatrical Trailer for Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

"Remember Us?" Leading Ladies Of Color In British Cinema History

Shadow and Act By Emmanuel Akitobi | Shadow and Act June 5, 2012 at 9:50PM

There's been a lot of recent Internet chatter about the upcoming sports drama Fast Girls, and how it features the first lead performance by a black actress in a British film.  Not to take anything away from actress Lenora Crichlow, but that just isn't so.
23
LeadingLadies

There's been a lot of recent Internet chatter about the upcoming sports drama Fast Girls, and how it features the first lead performance by a black actress in a British film.  Not to take anything away from actress Lenora Crichlow, but that just isn't so.

In an interview last month with the London Evening Standard, Crichlow dropped this little nugget:

But perhaps we should concentrate on a more remarkable fact. I'd been told that the Londoner sitting in front of me is the first black female actor to lead a British film. "This is according to Damian [Jones], the producer, and he knows his stuff," she says when I mention it, as if she can barely believe it herself.

"It's a double-edged sword, though. All my favourite actresses are women of colour, and it saddens me that they're not household names. But what a positive place to start from. The majority of our lead characters are black females, representing their country, in strong, positive roles. It is something we should see more of."

It's a positive sentiment but, thankfully, it isn't completely accurate.  Several actresses before Crichlow have had opportunities to shine in front of the camera, their performances immortalized on film.

Just last year we saw Zawe Ashton star in the docu/drama Dreams Of A Life, and even got a chance to speak to her about her lead role.

Having already appeared in several memorable supporting film roles, Sophie Okonedo took the lead in the 2008 Anthony Fabian-directed drama Skin.

Danny Boyle's 2002 thriller 28 Days Later featured a star-turning performance from a then-relatively-unknown Naomie Harris*However, after watching the film's trailer, one would never know it.*

SPOILER ALERT:  (Don't watch the below clip if you haven't yet seen the film.)

Marianne Jean-Baptiste received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in the 1996 drama Secrets & Lies.  But anyone who saw it knows that she and Brenda Blethyn (who was nominated for Best Actress) both carried that film.

Following her 1986 feature film debut opposite Bob Hoskins in director Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, actress Cathy Tyson was on track to make a name for herself in Hollywood.

In 1981, director Menelik Shabazz's Burning An Illusion featured a lead performance from Cassie McFarlane that still puts butts in seats at film festivals worldwide.

And these are only the films I could remember.  If anyone can name others, please feel free to share.

I wish Crichlow and the rest of the Fast Girls cast much success with their film this summer. Let's just keep in mind that there are British actresses out there whose performances should not be forgotten, and whose best work we likely have yet to see.

This article is related to: Sophie Okonedo, Naomie Harris, Lenora Crichlow, Zawe Ashton


Shadow & ActNewsletter