If there's one young actress who should be on your radar, it's actress and singer Zoë Kravitz. The daughter of Lenny Kravitz and former Cosby Show actress Lisa Bonet has shot to fame over the past few years after starring in a number of major blockbusters and critically-acclaimed flicks like Divergent, Dope, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Now, the singer/actress is speaking out about a time when she was allegedly denied an audition for a film role — and, according to her, it had nothing to do with her level of talent or her star power.
Specifically, Kravitz alleged in a new interview with Nylon that the reason she was told that she couldn't read for a small part in a major action film had to do with the fact that they weren't looking for "urban" actresses like her.
Here's what Kravitz told Nylon of her experience:
"In the last Batman movie [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'... 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?'
The 26-year-old doesn't specifically say if she thinks it's her race that prohibited her from auditioning for the role, but her claim that she was denied the opportunity to audition because casting wasn't looking for an "urban" actress is troubling. Though Kravitz's claims are all we have to go off of so far (Note: Bustle reached out to both Warner Bros. and Dark Night Rises director Christopher Nolan's representative for comment in response to Kravitz's allegations. Warner Bros. had no comment in response, and Bustle has not yet heard back from Nolan's representative.) there's really no denying that there are simply less roles in Hollywood for minority actors and actresses — particularly the latter. According to USA Today, of the 250 box office films released in 2013, only 50 of them featured a black woman in a lead or a supporting role, and only one of the top 10 highest-grossing movies starred a black woman.
Two-time Oscar nominee and How To Get Away With Murder actress Viola Davis agreed. Though Davis has had a great deal of success in her own work, she started on Oprah Winfrey's Next Chapter that there's simply not enough roles out their for minority women, specifically African American women. Davis had this to say about getting roles as a black actress:
"It's not only the sheer number of roles that are offered and that are out there, but the quality of roles... [Black actresses are] in deprivation mode because me, Alfre [Woodward] and Phylicia [Rashad] we're in the same category... Whereas if you take a Caucasian actress, you have the one who are the teens, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s -- they're all different. There are roles for each of them. But you only have two or three categories for black actresses."
Gabrielle Union echoed those statements on The Angie Martinez Show, when she spoke about how challenging it was to find a role in comedy for a black woman:
There’s not a lot of smart comedies where they want a black woman. They want us shucking and jivin’ and cooning, that’s where they’re most comfortable having a black woman.
Whatever the case with Kravitz's claims to Nylon, it's no secret that there's a lack of roles for minority actors — race and ethnicity just sadly seem to play a large part in casting, whether the powers at be would like to admit it or not. All too often, Caucasian actors are viewed by Hollywood as the "norm," while a minority actor is often called upon when race plays a specific role in the story — one that, even worse, is often a cliché. This trend needs to be challenged and overthrown immediately, because Hollywood is missing out on including great, talented women — not to mention missing the opportunity to diversify a sadly narrow industry.