Antoinette Robertson grew up in the Bronx and is one of the stars of TV show Dear White People, based on the movie of the same name.
Famous for: Actress
Antoinette Robertson would travel between Florida and Jamaica, the birthplaces of her parents, during her childhood. She was born in the US and grew up in the Bronx, New York and defines herself as a native Bronx girl.
Robertson has a bachelor degree in Chemistry from Stony Brook University. She started acting through her obligatory theater classes at the university. After realizing her passion in acting, she decided to continue and receive a professional education at William Esper Acting Studio.
In 2010 she had small roles in the TV series and some short movies. In 2011 she had a significant role in the TV series Hart of Dixie. Her career continued with The Haves and Have Nots and Atlanta (2016). She won a starring role in the Netflix TV series Dear White People (2017) as Colandrea ‘Coco’ Conners, based on the acclaimed film of the same name, which follows a group of students of color at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League college.
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Seeing as Dear White People is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed film, how did you prepare to keep true to Coco, but also add your own twist as well?
I was just so fascinated with the multidimensionality of Coco that I really didn’t have time to think about anything other than revealing her truth. I was just super excited to be able to create art that could provoke conversations about social injustice, race relations, political correctness (or lack thereof), cultural bias and activism in the Millennial age. It was already so well written that it just kept inspiring me.
With such a rich and thought-provoking plot behind an explosive title, despite the film’s success, the trailer of the series caused a stir among Netflix subscribers, accusing of it to be racist. What are your thoughts on this?
I would love audiences to understand that the struggle of figuring out who we are versus who society would want us to be is a lifelong journey for us all. People of color have experiences that are unique to them and don’t need to be acknowledged by the majority to be validated. I’d want them to see these experiences and truly ask themselves if they could purposefully or inadvertently be contributing to a racist society. And if so, what could they do to help bridge the racial divide in our society today?
With such a strong cast, and the character Sam White as the protagonist, there’s this presence of empowerment in women. What are your thoughts on the representation of female characters in the media?
I’m so excited to be on a show where women are being portrayed with strength coupled with vulnerability. More often than not, vulnerability is seen as a weakness, but our writers do a great job of creating these characters as authentic, flawed, strong, vulnerable beings just trying to do and be their best. Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of characters on TV rejecting the notion that women are frail beings that could only be a mother or the owner of an empire. Now we see characters that are doing both, and I love that.
As an actress, what kind of stories do you want to tell?
I want to tell stories that are going to reflect humanity. Pieces of work that will inspire thought and help to cultivate environments of better understanding among different groups; groups of various socio-economical statuses, creeds, races, genders, etc. For a long time, the stories of people of color have gone unnoticed, and if I have it my way, that will become a thing of the past.