EBONY Features Jurnee Smollett-Bell Talking Activism, Underground & Colorism in Hollywood

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2017 Beauty Innovation Awards, Top 20 women movers and shakers and more highlighted


Black women truly hold our community together. It is an honor to be able to celebrate ‘us’ in this issue. - Kyra Kyles, EBONY Editor-in-Chief

Don’t let her enchanting smile and innocent beauty fool you, Jurnee Smollett-Bell isn’t just another pretty Hollywood face. As the star of WGN America’s hit series Underground, the 30-year-old actress represents for our enslaved ancestors who never stopped fighting for freedom and fairness.

Ebony goes one-on-one with the actress and activist to learn more about colorism in Hollywood, the second season of Underground and the importance of activism, especially now. While many celebrities are just now finding their voice on social justice issues, Smollett-Bell was “woke” before it became a popular term. One of the topics she tackles is the reality of bias toward lighter skinned women in Hollywood and beyond.

"There are obstacles and challenges that my dark-skinned sisters face that I will never know,” Smollett-Bell acknowledges. “How they are perceived when they walk in a room of strangers is something I will never truly know. I would be ignorant to say colorism doesn't exist, it's gross and disgusting.” Speaking of standing for your sistas in the struggle, the 2017 women’s issue is devoted to uplifting Black women.

“It is no exaggeration when we talk about Black Girl Magic,” says Ebony Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Editorial Kyra Kyles. “Black women truly hold our community together. It is an honor to be able to celebrate ‘us’ in this issue.”

Issue highlights include:

  • Ebony Beauty Innovation Awards—In our annual and acclaimed “it” list, Ebony highlights the latest game-changing products and tools to try
  • A Silent War: The battle between Black women and fibroids
  • Women's Work: Movers, shakers, waymakers—Call it the takeover by 20 brilliant enterprising women who are industry leaders and gamechangers, which include U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, newswoman Soledad O’Brien, White House Champion for Change awardee Kathryn Finney, ESPN’s Jemele Hill
  • "In Our Cities": Ebony’s original new multimedia series heads west to the City of Angels for some California love—the cinematic shoot-outs of gang wars of the ’90s are a thing of the past. Today, Los Angeles is considered one of the safest cities in the United States and we give a nuanced and real view of the Black folks who make it great

*Culinary Queens—These kitchen warriors are reclaiming the game for the sisters

Elsewhere in the issue Ebony takes a look at Jordan Peele’s latest film GET OUT, Jermaine Dupri welcomes Ebony to Atlanta and innovative Apple exec Bozoma Saint John provides tips on how to be a game changer at work. For more, pick up the March 2017 issue of Ebony, on newstands March 21. To get more Smollett-Bell, watch behind-the-scenes video on Ebony.com. Read and join the conversation on social media using #FantasticJurnee

ABOUT Ebony Magazine
Ebony is the No. 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the multidimensional African-American community. The Ebony brand, including print and digital, reaches over 25 million readers monthly. Ebony media reflects the cross section of Black America as delivered by the best thinkers, trendsetters, activists, celebrities and next-generation leaders. Ebony ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration. Ebony magazine is the heart, soul and pulse of Black America, and a catalyst for reflection and progression. For more information visit http://www.ebony.com

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Lynn Cooper
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