Thursday, October 21, 2021

Zoë Kravitz On Her Greatest Challenge: ‘Accepting Black Identity’

Zoe+Kravitz

*It’s truly fascinating when biracial individuals discover, or should we say “accept” their Blackness. That moment they receive a reality check from the very people they consider genetically superior, or more relatable, to Blackness is quite curious.

Actress/singer Zoë Kravitz has revealed the struggles she’s had landing roles because of her “urban” genetics.

In the August issue of Nylon magazine, Kravitz described how she tried to audition for a small part in the Christopher Nolan-directed “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“They told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ‘going urban,'” she said. “It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?'”

On her identity as the biracial daughter of stars Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz, the actress said she has only recently begun to identify more with her blackness. She said growing up attending a predominantly white school made her feel as though she was “just as white” as her classmates.

“I identified with white culture, and I wanted to fit in,” she told Nylon. “I didn’t identify with black culture, like, I didn’t like Tyler Perry movies, and I wasn’t into hip-hop music.

“Unfortunately that is what’s fed through the media. That’s what people see. That’s what I saw,” Kravitz added. The actress says she has since gained more perspective on being black, and realizes that black culture is “so much deeper than that.”

Introductions to important black actors and musicians helped Kravitz change her perspective on black identity. “I got older and listened to A Tribe Called Quest and watched films with Sidney Poitier, and heard Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I had to un-brainwash myself. It’s my mission, especially as an actress.”

She has parents who some consider Black, others consider bi-racial, yet, based on her own comments, it would appear neither parent instilled in her just a teaspoon of Black pride. The poor chile viewed Black culture as nothing more than Tyler Perry in a dress and Lil Wanye sippin’ syrup in his skinny jeans. Sad.

Although, there are many who would agree that Black culture is dead, so why throw shade at Zoë’s upbringing/education? Still, we do hope she spends her free time staying busy with lessons on Black history, ya know, that which they don’t teach you in school (well, maybe once a month). If she digs deep enough she’ll find intoxicating reads about Black culture before it was destroyed and rewritten by the lucrative slave trade.  We have no doubt that she will find such lessons empowering.

Kravitz is currently filming “Allegiant: Part 1,” the next installment in the “Insurgent” movie franchise.

Read the full interview on Nylon.com.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry I am a bit confused … the article says: “… the biracial daughter of stars Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz” – Her mom Lisa is black, her dad Lenny is black – How does that make her “biracial”? I’m just saying …

  2. Sheryll in case you didn’t know both Lenny and Lisa are bi-racial. Lisa’s dad is black and her mom is white and Lenny’s Mom was the black actress Roxie Roker who was Helen Willis on the Jeffersons and his dad was White.

  3. I can respect her for finally waking up and learning about her true culture. It is sad that her parents didn’t instill in her at a young age that she is black and teach her about her strong, intelligent and beautiful black history.

    • How do you know her family didn’t teach her/share with her about these things. A lot of black kids no matter what their parents teach them still go ahead had do what they choose for periods of time. her culture is still bi-racial. Black and Jewish

  4. “The poor chile viewed Black culture as nothing more than Tyler Perry in a dress and Lil Wanye sippin’ syrup in his skinny jeans. Sad.”

    This is all bullshit trying to blame it on her parents. Didn’t she look in the mirror everyday?
    There had to be subtle messages from whites that they didn’t view her as one of them. And if there were any doubts, then the same media which she learned about Tyler Perry, also constantly talked about growing up biracial in America.
    And then to make it sound like the images fed from the media of black culture amounted to nothing more than Tyler Perry and Hip Hop.

    She’s the one who chose to be in denial about what she was. But I’m guessing she finally got enough wake up calls to set her straight.

  5. For most people, your parents are the ones who instill in you a strong sense of self and identity. If your parents fail to do so, then, yes, you do have to seek it out for yourself. It appears that neither Lisa Bonet nor Lenny Kravitz maintained strong ties with their black relatives. Otherwise, I would think Zoe will have first-hand experience from her immediate relatives that Black culture is not simply some “Madea” films and hip-hop.

    • Ramtej, Lenny lives half of his life in the Carribeans (not the resort area) his mother Roxie (Helen from the Jeffersons) is from the Islands. Lenny has family from her side in NYC where he lives the other half of the time. And we are talking about NYC, so it’s no doubt that Zoe was exposed to other Afro descendant family members. Lenny is also friends with a lot of other ‘Afro descendant’ celebs.

      Lisa Bonet has a lot of multiracial connections and friends, some who are celebs. Her best friend Cree Summer(from A Different World) also had a huge part in Zoe’s life.

  6. I have to agree with Sheryll because I too am confused. How is she saying she is biracial when she it the product of parents who are both mixed. To be bi-racial I thought you parent had to be all of one race while the other parent is a different race. Look the definition up yourself. Not understanding the meaning of the term “urban genetics” either. : (

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