Michaela Coel says she will keep speaking out against racism

·2-min read

Michaela Coel said she is “lucky” there are still places she is unknown and where she experiences racism as it reminds her to keep speaking out against discrimination.

The award-winning star and creator of acclaimed drama I May Destroy You said she is regularly reminded she is a black woman by how other people treat her.

London-born Coel, 33, stars on the October cover of Elle UK and revealed when she travels abroad she is regularly met with racism.

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel has promised to keep speaking out against racism (Danny Kasirye/Elle UK/PA)

She told the magazine: “I am a black woman and that will always be true.

“And, for me, there is nothing like going to a different country where nobody knows me and experiencing the way security guards follow me around the pharmacy or the grocery shop.

“The dirty looks I receive, the fact that cars don’t want to stop on a zebra crossing.”

Coel, who delivered a powerful MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival in 2018 discussing racism and sexual assault, added: “All these things reinstall that I am a black woman.

“As long as these issues are still happening, I am happy to speak, because I could be deluded and forget that that’s a part of me.

“I’m really lucky that there are places where I’m not known and so it allows me to still experience it.”

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel stars on the cover of Elle UK’s October edition (Danny Kasirye/Elle UK/PA)

Coel, who is celebrating the release of her debut book Misfits: A Personal Manifesto, used the experience of her sexual assault for the Bafta-winning drama I May Destroy You.

She said “the cycle of grief has to be ridden all the way around”.

Coel said: “I think (about) what happened to me.

“It’s really horrible and f***** up, and to automatically feel angry, sad, revengeful, those are good things.

“And then your final destination is empathy.

“But then there’s also things like the law and we need both of those things.

“I think the cycle of grief has to be ridden all the way around.

“It’s easy to remain in a place of anger, sadness or shock.”

The October issue of Elle UK is on sale from September 2.

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