Djimon Hounsou recently explained how his heart was broken upon hearing his son Kenzo wish for lighter skin so that he could look like his favorite superhero.

While chatting with The Guardian about the DVD release of his film “The Legend of Tarzan,” Hounsou was asked about the sudden burst of black superhero projects like Netflix’s “Luke Cage” and the forthcoming Black Panther.

“It’s about time!” said the Benin-born actor. “It’s absolutely great news to have a hero that black folks can identify with.”

Honsou went on to underscore how important it is for fantasy stories to feature black actors in prominent roles, because of something said by Kenzo, his 7-year-old son with ex-girlfriend Kimora Lee Simmons.

Nice pic of my boy#kLH and mami @kimoraleesimmons @mingleesimmons @aokileesimmons

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“Could you imagine my misfortune when my son told me, ‘I want to be light-skinned so I can climb the walls like Spider-Man’ – just because he has seen Spider-Man and Batman and all these superheroes who were all white. The minute he said it, I was like, damn. My whole self was shattered. I was like, ‘wow, what sort of comeback do you have for this?’ It’s important to recognize yourself.”

My boy! Growing so big! #happybirthday #kenzoleehounsou #benedictions! #T229 #TAfrica

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Hounsou, who voiced Black Panther for a TV cartoon, was passed over for the upcoming film version for Chadwick Boseman. Asked is he was disappointed, the 53-year-old actor said: “There are things that you hope to get and obviously everyone was talking about who would get the role and he was lucky to get it. It was not something that was mine that I’m losing. Fair enough that he got the role and I hope he does a great job with it.”


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22 thoughts on “Djimon Hounsou Talks Colorism, Says His Son Wanted To be Light Skinned

  1. That kid is beautiful…his skin, his hair, his smile…everything about him is gorgeous. He will stand out and look different in the family he’s in, but he must be told his difference is of greatness. And God made him stand out for a reason….It is up to his parents to help him find his purpose and to enhance his greatness.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    LOL on the flip side RENO2AC and jcdj0525 at least no one came up and said “oh you so clean” lol. I had this Asian woman come up to me, I was in her beauty supply stored with my baby girl and she looked at her with great astonishment and said “oh yo’ baby so clean” I was looking at her like she had two heads, confused as hell. But then I thought about it and left it alone, but when I told my husband I was crackin’ up because I really couldn’t believe she said it. Oh and that’s not even the worst I’ve heard.

  3. African American Woman on said:

    After all we been through as a people, it’s time to heal from all this nonsense and come together for the positive we could be doing.

  4. ButterPecan on said:

    I hope Djimon used his comment as a teaching tool to explain to him that he is beautiful in his dark skin and that not all super hero’s are white. You would think that he had already had that conversation with him since his Mom and sisters are light skinned.

    • specialt757 on said:

      BP I was actually thinking the same thing, seems like that would have come up before now. I hope he came up with a “love the skin you’re in” talk that he can be proud of and will remember for the rest of his life.

  5. African American Woman on said:

    L, why should and do we care what white folks think about us? I hate that statement with a passion; it insinuates that we cannot be something of value unless white people say so. This is our issue. We must learn to value and love ourselves-regardless of what others think of us. White people, or any other people, have no place here. Our path to self love and acceptance can only come from us and us only. I can’t believe this nonsense still is alive and well amongst us.

    • specialt757 on said:

      AAW on that I definitely agree, the light-skin/dark-skin thing is a black thing and it’s old, which we could retire that.

      • African American Woman on said:

        As a very light skinned child, I ended up,feeling guilty and ashamed of my skin color. On one hand, my mother would make comments about my skin color and green eyes, but they were harmful because she was doing it as a way to point out that I was “lucky.” kids in school would call me white, green eyed cat girl, red bone, mellow yellow, etc…so I really had a complex. I spent years wishing I had beautiful brown skin. As an adult, I did some soul searching and came to accept my skin tone as well as to appreciate the beauty in all of us. I wish all black parents would make it a point to tell their children how beautiful and precious they are not withstanding skin color…

      • African American Woman on said:

        After all we been through as a people, it’s time to heal from all this nonsense and come together for the positive we could be doing.

      • African American Woman on said:

        Girl! You are -traumatizing me, lol. Its so pathetic of people to even point things out like that, especially to children. When had my oldest daughter, my ex husband and I brought her up to my job-now she’s my twin- how about one of my ignorant ass co-workers said, really loudly too, that’s some white man’s baby…now me and my ex didn’t agree on much, but we agreed that he needed I have his teeth kicked out. That’s not even funny. Why you had to bring Casper up? I feel like balling up with y thumb in my mouth, LMAO!

  6. Djimon Hounsou should do his superhero research so he can be informed about the black ones i.e. Black Panther, Falcon, Black Racer, Storm the list goes on. STAY WOKE!!! Get in the KNOW!!!

  7. Wow, that would have crushed me. I shut the light-skin vs. dark skin crap down when I hear it now. Admittedly when I was younger I hated my cousin because my grandmother treated her differently than she did the rest of us. So I’m just not having it now. I love being my color, I’m not trying to be lighter or darker I embrace the skin I’m in and I hope my kids feel the same. I know I’ve done more than my part to make sure they know they have the best looking skin on the planet and they never have to feel they are less than anybody else.

    • jcdj0525 on said:

      My grandmother did the exact same thing. Although I was the only grandchild that helped her when she got sick. It took me awhile to deal with my dark skin too. I love my color now, and I can truly say, being 53 and not looking like it is something. I battled, “You are cute to be dark skinned” by my own people.

      • The worse part about it is, those people don’t even realize how that sounds, like black or dark aint beautiful, they’re somehow throwing you a bone.
        A cousin of a friend of mine long, long again, was dating this model. This girl was gorgeous, he called her dark burgundy. Now I don’t think he meant any harm, I think he affectionately called her that, he wasn’t mean or nasty in any way. But I don’t know how she felt about it. I’ve always wondered. Because again she was gorgeous and I was only 17 and I thought she was the cat’s meow, very pretty skin, I was almost jealous lol, I said almost lol.

      • RENO2AC on said:

        I got the same, “cute to be dark” mantra as a pre-teen and a teenager from people outside of the family. My grandmother was light, bright, dang near white, and she did NOT play that crap! Her sister-in-law, however, made obvious differences between my lighter skin brother and myself, as well as her own dark skin and light skin children and grandchildren, which to this very day causes conflicts, particuarly with the grandchildren.

  8. When will Black folks ever get over the light skinned versus dark skinned dilemma?

    We are still N—ers in the White folks eyes-so who cares what complexion or shade any of us are!!!!!

    • Yes it’s sad that black people have been brainwashed for hundreds of years and told we are ugly and all the other negative descriptions that we are labeled with . It is up to us to instill positive images and thoughts in
      Our children. It sad a lot of blacks feel they must bleach their skin it’s really crazy because yes white people still will call what they call us. However I don’t subscribe to what white people think. I’m proud of my tone.

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