"We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell."

Lia Beck
September 09, 2020
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Axelle/Bauer-Griffin, Getty Images

In the 1990s, Tia and Tamera Mowry were stars of one of the most popular sitcoms, Sister, Sister. But, because they were Black stars of a sitcom, it’s no surprise that they still faced discrimination in the entertainment industry. In a video for Entertainment Tonight’s “Unfiltered” series, Tia Mowry said a teen magazine would not put her and Tamera on the cover because they were Black.

“It was around Sister, Sister days and the show was extremely popular," Mowry explains in the clip. “My sister and I, we wanted to be on the cover of this very popular magazine at the time, and it was a teenage magazine."

"We were told that we couldn’t be on the cover of the magazine because we were Black and we would not sell," Mowry said.

Sister, Sister aired while the twin sisters were from the age of 16 to 21. So, not only were they facing racism while doing their job, but it was at a particularly impressionable age. Mowry notes in the video that she was already insecure about her looks at the time, especially when it came to her hair, because she didn’t see other girls with natural curly hair like hers in the media. She also says that she took diet pills.

“Here I am as an adult and it still affects me,” Mowry continued. “How someone could demean your value because of the color of your skin. And I will never forget that. I will never forget where I was.” It should never have been on a teenage girl to speak up about an adult’s racism in a professional setting, but Mowry says, “I wish I would’ve spoken up. I wish I would have said something then.”

Now, Mowry is making sure that her own children won’t go through feelings of insecurity in the same way that she did. Because of her past experiences, she says, “I’m always telling my beautiful brown-skinned girl that she is beautiful. I always tell Cairo, ‘You are so beautiful. You’re smart.’ And the same thing even with my son. I tell him how handsome he is. He’s smart. Because I know what it feels like for someone that you’ve looked up to, for someone to devalue your worth. I don’t want my children to ever, ever, ever feel that and not have the strength or the foundation to not believe it.”