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'People talk about my 'monkey face'': Jameela Jamil says her backlash is often racially-motivated

Jameela gets racist messages on a daily basis.

HAVING RISEN TO fame as a presenter on T4 in 2009, Jameela Jamil’s career has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with her current role as Tahani Al-Jamil in The Good Place bringing her to the attention of audiences in the US.

Photocall 'The Good Place', San Diego's Comic-Con International 2018 Source: Cindy Robichaud/Geisler-Fotopress

However, it’s her candour on matters such as sexism, racism and misogyny along with her activism and advocacy which has garnered the most press attention in recent months.

From openly dubbing the Kardashians ‘double agents for the patriarchy’ to establishing a platform on social media to counteract the significance placed on the aesthetic in today’s society, Jameela is eager to reframe the perception we have of ourselves and each other.

This, however, has not come without its backlash, with the actress revealing that she receives racist messages on a daily basis.

CA: 12th Annual NBCUniversal Short Film Festival - Arrivals Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Speaking to the Huffington Post, the 32-year-old explained that racial prejudice is part and parcel of her daily life.

“I’ve experienced racism out in the streets wherever I am. I have experienced racism online from trolling,” she says.

Reflecting on a high-profile interview she participated in during the summer, Jameela says the backlash was swift.

I just recently did this interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy for Channel 4 and it was a widely circulated interview, and we got messages like, “That room must have been stinking with those two P*kis in the room.” Those are the kinds of messages I receive on a daily basis.

This is something Jameela has become accustomed to, and expresses surprise it’s as prevalent as it is.

If you think about how far we should have come by now, for people to still be making comments and jokes like that. And people talking about my “monkey face.” I get a lot of that on social media over the years.

Jameela believes that women of colour are often silenced as society is fearful of the repercussions of allowing them to speak out.

“I think people know how badly women of color have been treated, and therefore they know how much rage has probably been stored up and they’re afraid of what’s going to happen when we open our mouths,” she told the publication.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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