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Why Teyonah Parris of "Dear White People" almost passed on "Mad Men"

To assimilate or not to assimilate?: Teyonah Parris on the truth behind her "Dear White People" character

What does it mean to be black on an Ivy League campus? It’s a question Justin Simiens explores in his award-winning new film, “Dear White People.”

At the center of the story is Coco Conners. She wants to be in the limelight, but shies away from the attention that comes with being a black face in a white place.

Fusion’s Alicia Menendez sat down with Teyonah Parris, who plays Coco Conners in the film, to find out what drew her to this project.

“I just thought that even from the two-minute trailer that I saw — what Justin [Simiens] was trying to say, I had experienced,” she told Menendez.

For Parris’ character, the desire for her identity to remain separate from race is one she ultimately finds will not give her the attention she craves.

“I, personally, can relate to sometimes feeling like you have to present certain sides of yourself more with certain people,” Parris told Menendez. “I find myself modulating what I present depending on what setting I’m in. I think we’re all guilty of doing that.”

For the full interview with Teyonah Parris, watch here:

Credit: Victoria Moreno and Johanna Rojas

To assimilate or not to assimilate?: Teyonah Parris on the truth behind her "Dear White People" character

What does it mean to be black on an Ivy League campus? It’s a question Justin Simiens explores in his award-winning new film, “Dear White People.”

At the center of the story is Coco Conners. She wants to be in the limelight, but shies away from the attention that comes with being a black face in a white place.

Fusion’s Alicia Menendez sat down with Teyonah Parris, who plays Coco Conners in the film, to find out what drew her to this project.

“I just thought that even from the two-minute trailer that I saw — what Justin [Simiens] was trying to say, I had experienced,” she told Menendez.

For Parris’ character, the desire for her identity to remain separate from race is one she ultimately finds will not give her the attention she craves.

“I, personally, can relate to sometimes feeling like you have to present certain sides of yourself more with certain people,” Parris told Menendez. “I find myself modulating what I present depending on what setting I’m in. I think we’re all guilty of doing that.”

For the full interview with Teyonah Parris, watch here:

Credit: Victoria Moreno and Johanna Rojas

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