Meghan Markle has had enough of being the ‘angry Black woman’

In the latest episode of Archetypes, Markle is joined by Insecure creator Issa Rae and comedian Ziwe to discuss the difference between being “difficult” and “clear”.

Does setting boundaries, having an opinion and being clear make you angry… or human? This is the central question asked by Meghan Markle in the latest episode of her Spotify podcast Archetypes, released yesterday (25 October).

Alongside guests, actor Issa Rae and comedian Ziwe, Markle unpicks the trope of the ‘angry Black woman’, and the three discuss how it has been applied to them throughout their careers. “We all know that sometimes things make you feel angry or sad or hurt or upset – and that’s not a gender or racially specific feeling. Yet this trope of the angry Black woman, it persists,” says Markle.

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Questioning Rae, Markle asks: “Was there a point in your life, and maybe it still happens to you now, because of the archetypes, especially as a Black woman, do you feel that you’re allowed to be angry in certain moments?”

The actor replies: “Absolutely not. Because I can’t lose my cool, I can’t do that, especially as a Black woman, but also just even as a public figure now. Because people are looking for ways to justify their perception of you. That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry. That might mean that I will vent my frustrations to someone that I trust, get it out of my system and then go into fix mode.

“And I think even personality wise, I’m always like, I don’t want to sit in my anger too long anyway because what does that do? I want to work on fixing something, but I want to be allowed to have that emotion because it’s natural… like, it’s an emotion.”

Discussing the limitations of Black female roles in the early 2000s entertainment industry, Rae identifies the damaging “caricatures” of the “ruthless Black woman” or “uncouth Black woman”. Later on, however, she notes that the portrayal switched to the opposite extreme, and the “fierce” and “flawless”, archetype emerged. This, she said, was her inspiration for creating Insecure.

“I want to be able to show that not all women are like this. I don’t feel fierce, flawless all the time,” she tells Markle. “These characters aren’t that all the time, and that’s OK.” She adds: “It was like we overcorrected this other narrative, and now we couldn’t be human. We were superhuman.”

Issa Rae appeared on Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast

Speaking of her own experience, Ziwe also shares how the stereotype has prompted others to admit the intimidation they feel when interacting with her face to face.

“Usually, when I’m talking to an interviewer, the first thing that they say to me is, ‘I’m terrified of you,’” she remarked. “I’m like, oh my God, that hurts my feelings. I’m a sensitive Pisces. Like, I don’t want you to be scared of me. That’s not my goal.”

Comedian Ziwe also guest starred in the episode

Later in the episode, Markle says that she has “just had my genealogy done a couple years ago” and that it had revealed she was 43% Nigerian, saying, “I’m going to start to dig deeper into all this because anybody that I’ve told, especially Nigerian women, are like, ‘What!’” 

Images: Getty

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