Gabourey Sidibe Gets Candid About Racism She's Faced: 'I'm Not Just Scared for Myself, I'm Scared for Everyone'

"There is a long, long way to go and it breaks my heart," the Oscar-nominated actress tells PEOPLE

Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

As incidents across the nation shed light on the complexities of race in America today, Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe is sharing her own experience with racism.

“As a black actress, I have a few social media accounts and every single day I deal with racist comments,” Sidibe told PEOPLE at Monday night’s New York City premiere of the second season of Hulu’s Difficult People.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t have to block someone from calling me a fat n—-,” the actress revealed. “So I have to say, I’m not surprised by some of those bad reactions [to what happened last week].”

Sidibe, 33, reveals she received backlash when she responded to the police shootings of two black males in one week.

“I tweeted something about it and I just said, ‘Who’s going to be next?’ And I said, ‘I’m scared,’ ” recalled Sidibe. “And the amount of hate I got I mean, I once tweeted that I was watching Roots, and I can’t tell you how many people I had to block.”

“There is a long, long way to go and it breaks my heart,” she said. “I’m scared. I’m not just scared for myself, I’m scared for my family, I’m scared for everyone.”

“What I realized, the only difference between the world that I live in and the world my mom grew up in – my mother was born in 1952 – is that we have cell phones,” the actress told PEOPLE. “We have cell phones and we have documented proof that there’s no real difference.”

Yet the Empire actress remains hopeful: “I have to say, I am just so proud to know all of these people that are standing up – not just black people, but white people, anyone who has a heart really.”

“I don’t base any of my friendships or my loves on color, I base it on people,” she added, “and I am so glad for the insane amount of people that show support.”

She continued, “I am so grateful for the people that are making a change, DeRay [McKesson], Johnetta [Elzie], we have so many soldiers fighting for us on the field thankfully.”

Although she may not be safe on social media, Sidibe said she finds sanctuary on the accepting set of Difficult People.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are, you are welcomed as long as you are talented and funny, and you get to stretch your wings,” she said referencing the diverse range of season two’s guest stars, including transgender actress Shakina Nayfack and deaf model Nyle DiMarco, who recently won Dancing with the Stars.

“What a wonderful production to be a part of,” she said.

Difficult People season 2 is currently streaming on Hulu.

Related Articles