Tia Mowry and her sister Tamera Mowry were definitely among our favorite child actresses when we were growing up, so it really broke our hearts to see Tia shed tears during a revealing session of ET’s “Unfiltered” where she revealed the racism she was exposed to — even as a successful tv star.
Tia was asked to talk about a time when she wishes she had spoken up and the memory she chose actually triggered her to cry.
“So my sister [Tamera] and I wanted to be on the cover of this very popular [teenage] magazine at the time,” Mowry recalls. “We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell.”
The Mowry sisters were at the height of their fame at this time, so Tia knew the reasoning probably wasn’t even true, but she didn’t challenge the notion anyway.
“I will never forget that. I will never forget where I was,” she continues. “And I wish I would have spoken up. I wish I would have said something then. I wish I would have had the courage to speak out and say that wasn’t right.”
We’re glad she’s speaking up now. You can watch the full segment below:
During another part of the episode that we found really interesting, Tia reveals a lot about how representation affected her own self-image, especially when it comes to her curly hair. Tia and Tamera’s curly hair was goals for so many young black women growing up in the ’90’s. But Tia says she felt a lot of insecurities because she didn’t see herself reflected enough.
“I would feel insecure about my hair because being young and being in this business, I never saw girls like me. I never saw girls that, you know, were embracing their curls or I never saw curly hair being portrayed as beautiful,” she explains.
“I love that now I’m seeing images that are really embracing natural, beautiful, curly hair and just beautiful Black women in all shades — dark, light skin, brown,” she says. “Representation is important and that really helped me, meaning me seeing those images is what helped me embrace my natural beauty.”
Tia also talked about the important role her mom, Darlene played in making her more self confident.
“She has beautiful dark skin and her skin is just so smooth. She’s just the epitome of beauty,” Tia said of her mom, who she also described as “this strong, confident, beautiful Black woman.”
Tia also revealed that her mom helped her stay strong in the tough world of Hollywood.
“She used to always tell us, ‘Do not let this business define who you are. Don’t let something like that tell you who you are, and tell you what your value is. Because it’s not true.’”
Now Tia is intent on doing the same for her son Cree and daughter Cairo.
“To this day, I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful. And the same thing even with my son. I tell him how handsome he is, I tell him, you know, he is smart. Because I know what it feels like for someone to devalue your worth, and I don’t want my children to ever, ever, ever, feel that. And not have the strength, or the foundation, to not believe it. To believe that they are worthy.”
We love that Tia stayed strong and true to herself despite the challenges of show business. We also wonder which teen magazine did the Mowrys dirty like that. SMH.