Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Say Hello to the Cast of the All-New, All-Female 'Ghostsbusters' movie Say Hello to the Cast of the All-New, All-Female 'Ghostsbusters' movie Review: Nuance-Deprived "Race" Movie 'Black or White' is Actually About White Frustration (Opens Friday) Review: Nuance-Deprived "Race" Movie 'Black or White' is Actually About White Frustration (Opens Friday) ABC Picks Up New Pilot From Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland Titled 'The Catch' ABC Picks Up New Pilot From Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland Titled 'The Catch' First 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Trailer Surfaces! Watch It Now! First 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Trailer Surfaces! Watch It Now! Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo Make It a Trifecta as They Re-Team for Katrina-Set Love Story/Murder Mystery Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo Make It a Trifecta as They Re-Team for Katrina-Set Love Story/Murder Mystery Review: Lifetime's 'With This Ring' - So What Did You Think of It? Review: Lifetime's 'With This Ring' - So What Did You Think of It? Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' 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