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Abbott Elementary Star Sheryl Lee Ralph Says She Was Fired From TV Show for Not Being ‘Black Enough’

Sheryl Lee Ralph spoke about the difficulties of trying to make it as a Black actress in 1980’s Hollywood (Picture: Getty)

Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph has opened up on the ‘horrible’ moment she was dropped from a TV show for not being ‘Black enough’.

The actress, 65, is currently starring in the hugely popular ABC sitcom alongside the likes of Quinta Brunson, Janelle James and Tyler James Williams, which is enjoying rave reviews from fans and critics alike.

However the actress admitted her career hasn’t been easy, recalling one particularly shocking rejection where she was told she ‘wasn’t Black enough’ for a role.

The incident in question occurred in the 1980’s, but Sheryl says that, even decades later, she can ‘still remember the way I felt’.

Speaking to People, Sheryl explained: ‘I was fired from a pilot because the producer told me I was “not Black enough”‘.

‘Those were his words. It was horrible. I can still remember the way I felt.’

Sheryl stars as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in the popular comedy (Picture: ABC via Getty Images)

She went on to say that, at the time, people’s way of thinking was ‘not very inclusive’ and directors were trying to tell Black women ‘how to be Black’.

The actress did not reveal the name of the TV pilot or the producer allegedly involved.

Abbott Elementary star Sheryl went on to secure a solid career in Hollywood despite the shocking setbacks (Picture: Getty Images)

Sheryl’s newest comment comes weeks after she revealed to The View that a casting director suggested people wouldn’t watch a movie where a leading man such as Tom Cruise kisses a ‘beautiful, talented Black girl’ like herself.

She said she walked out of that audition determined to make a name for herself, because ‘everybody knew I was a beautiful, talented Black girl.’

More: Showbiz

Despite the shocking setbacks, Sheryl went on to secure a glittering Hollywood career, having appeared in the likes of Dreamgirls, Oliver & Company and Sister Act 2.

She has been praised by viewers for her work in her newest role as Abbot Elementary’s kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard, and is set to appear in new film The Young Wife later this year, which is currently in post-production.

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