In these turbulent times, the Black community not only has to worry about being at the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic but the senseless murder of George Floyd has reminded them that police brutality is at an all-time high. However, instead of tackling just police brutality, everyone has come together to end systemic racism.
Celebrities have been sharing their stories about the inequality they face even as a public figure. From being paid less than their white counterparts to being typecast as a certain stereotype — Black actors have been expressing their concerns in the business since the beginning.
However, this letter penned by Lonnie Chavis who is only 12 years of age is eye-opening at how early racism can affect people.
Lonnie wrote an essay published by People Magazine. In it, he describes multiple racist experiences.
‘My life matters, but does it? America paints a very clear picture of how I should view myself. America shows me that my Blackness is a threat, and I am treated as such. I actually didn’t learn about being Black and what that would mean for me until I was 7 years old. I thought I was a peach man, so my parents educated me on being a Black man really quick with long talks, books and movies like Amistad and Malcolm X. I was overwhelmed with confusion, fear and sadness. I had to lean on my faith in Christ for hope, protection and understanding,’ he began the piece.
He went on to recall being treated differently at events until it was announced that he was famous. He also has been mistaken as ‘the boy from Black-ish’ or ‘the one from Stranger Things.’
Chavis revealed a time where he got emotional on set.
‘I can recall a time on set when I started crying listening to an actor portray a racist grandmother toward my character. The director and writers told me that they didn’t need me to cry for the scene. However, it was hard for me not to cry as I witnessed what I had just learned was my reality. I wasn’t acting, I was crying for me. Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn’t hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism? I can.’
The young star ended his piece asking for change.