‘HTGAWM’s Aja Naomi King Never Dreamed She’d Get This Far As A Black Actress

Aja Naomi King is out here living her best life.

The How To Get Away With Murder starlet was recently honored at Essence‘s Black Women In Hollywood, and she’s about to star in next year’s Untouchable remake with Kevin Hart. When she’s not working the big screen or gracing magazine covers, she posting the sweetest Instagram photos of her HTGAWM co-stars and her puppy. However, when the 32-year old first dreamed of becoming an actress, she thought being able to snag the role of “sidekick” would be the highlight of her career.

In Marie Claire’s Fresh Face May issue, King spoke candidly about her experience of being a Black woman in Hollywood. She said, “When I first started in this industry, my goal was to be some best friend. The sidekick. I thought that would be an accomplishment.” Most actors and actress in Hollywood share a fear of not being able to find work, but King’s anxieties as a dark skin Black woman were much deeper than that. After all, Hollywood has a major diversity issue. Though 2016 was a watershed year for Black actors and actresses in film and TV; we still had to deal with Ghosts in the Shell, Iron Fist, and last year’s Academy Awards ceremony which was dubbed #OscarsSoWhite.

Likewise, King’s stellar performance in 2016’s Birth Of A Nation was overshadowed by her director and co-star Nate Parker’s sordid past. The film should have been King’s moment to shine, but unfortunately, it was not. Still, the Los Angeles native has taken things in stride. She told Marie Claire when she was uncertain about the direction of her career; she turned to her fellow Black actresses for inspiration. She said, “Seeing people like Viola [Davis] and Tracee Ellis Ross and Gabrielle Union and Lupita [Nyong’o] — who was two classes behind me at Yale — I can hope for more.”

From the looks of it, Aja Naomi King is just getting started, with her #DatMurda character Michaela Pratt giving us all bad and boujee vibes, and her next film role alongside some of the biggest talent in Hollywood, we know this fabulous lady has moved well beyond the role of sidekick.