In a new interview with Leah’s Lemonade, the F9 star talked about losing parts to his friend because of his darker complexion.
“Terrence Howard has no idea how many roles that I was about to book and they went with him because he’s the lighter-skinned Black man with the green eyes,” said the 42-year-old. “It’s crazy to me, like, I’m No. 1. I’m the star. I’m this blue-Black, you know, all of the things that I was laughed about in the ‘hood.
“And then you look at Lupita and the Viola Davises of the world, and there is this kind of, this shift that has happened. I think we should all stay humble because it’s interesting how white people created this kind of colorism. The mixed-race gets to be in the house and the black Blacks get to work in the hot sun and pick cotton.”
Earlier in the interview, the former model revealed how despite the reality of the industry, he had to recommend Howard for a role in the upcoming action-thriller, The System—which also stars Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and rapper Lil Yachty. Not only is Tyrese the film’s producer, but he will also play a former marine recruited by authorities to go undercover in a notoriously dangerous prison, following a drug bust.
“We’re able to joke about it now. I was the star of the film. They had an idea to go with someone else, who I won’t mention, and then I suggested Terrence Howard,” he revealed. “And he thanked me for like, a week straight.”
The Black Rose singer also detailed his experiences with colorism stemming back to his childhood growing up in Watts, Calif. “Throughout my whole childhood, it was not cool to be dark skin in the hood. It was always the light-skinned Black people that seemed to have gotten all the attention and all the love and considered pretty, or attractive, or handsome,” he recalled, adding, “And since I’ve been in Hollywood we dealt with the same thing.”
Earlier this month, Tyrese shared a selfie video on Instagram from his vacation in Mayakoba, Mexico.” “I used to be so ashamed of my dark skin when I was younger…Now I’m clear this is a Kings and Queens Skin!” reads the video’s text overlay.
Many praised the star for his transparency and identity evolution, including TV personality and VIBE alum, Bevy Smith, who commented, “That’s good self love is someone [sic] important,” concluding, “Now let’s make sure we teach men to love their dark skin & their dark skin women! Respectfully [red heart and brown fist emoji].”
Watch Tyrese’s candid interview below.