It may be difficult to imagine Morris Chestnut as anything other than a Hollywood sex symbol, but he said his dark chocolate complexion wasn’t always an asset when seeking out those roles.
“When I was coming up, it was difficult. When I was first starting out many, many years ago, the gang genre was in. There was some type of skin issue to where they would see the darker-skinned actors for the gang members. The lighter-skinned actors were kinda always the good guys,” Morris told TheGrio.com.
Morris’ first major movie role was in 1991 film Boyz N the Hood. He didn’t play a gangster, but met the fate of one in the John Singleton classic.
Fast forward to 1999 and Morris is flexing his biceps and popping those pectorals in The Best Man, the sequel to which opens this weekend. He’s also played love interests in Two Can Play That Game, Breakin’ All the Rules and Not Easily Broken, just to name a few.
Morris graciously thanked actor Wesley Snipes for helping turn the tide in Hollywood and showing darker-toned brothers as more than just criminals or victims.
“It wasn’t until, really, Wesley Snipes came and kinda just busted the mold open. He did play the gang member in New Jack City, but when he was in Mo’ Better Blues and he was on the balcony doing his thing, women started saying, ‘Hmmm. That’s kinda sexy.’ Wesley kinda ushered it in for us,” he said.
Watch Morris talk to TheGrio.com below.