Ugh! Four Black Actors Were Publicly Confused for One Another This Weekend

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The Twitterverse was aflutter last night when a tweet went out from the Television Academy welcoming Cuba Gooding Jr. to the Emmys red carpet. The only problem was that the photo was actually of Terrence Howard. A corrected tweet went out very shortly afterward, properly addressing Howard, but it was too late. Screenshots of the original tweet were already being circulated.

Neither actor has weighed in on the gaffe, though they probably spent the night in Emmy afterparty land and didn’t even hear about it right away. But this morning brought news of another cringe-worthy mistake.

Grey’s Anatomy‘s Kelly McCreary, who plays Dr. Maggie Pierce — half-sister to lead character Meredith Grey — posted a picture on Instagram of herself on the red carpet at Entertainment Weekly ‘s Emmy bash on Friday night. Unfortunately, the image’s original caption identified her as Jerrika Hinton, her co-star on Grey’s. When McCreary couldn’t find any pictures of herself at the event, she said she had “a sinking feeling,” and took a shot at searching under Hinton’s name.

This is a split photo of Kelly on the left and Jerrika on the right. They’re both black women, who both have curly hair and star on same show, but that’s where the similarities end. The mistake has since been corrected, for which the actress has said she is “appreciative.”

Kelly McCreary and Jerrika Hinton, side by side

Kelly McCreary and Jerrika Hinton. (Photo: Getty Images)

In what she admitted was a long read, McCreary explained the frustration of having this kind of mistake happen repeatedly and having to decide when to shrug it off and when to call it out. So she wrote “a quick PSA.”

“LONG READ. I had the best time at the EW party Friday night, getting hyped for the Emmy’s, our upcoming Grey’s season premiere this Thursday, and celebrating artists who have created visionary, groundbreaking television for us to enjoy this fall,” she began. “Saturday morning, I searched the internet for my carpet photos so I could post them here and give credit to my glam team who straight KILLT it, but I could find none. Finally, with a sinking feeling, I searched for the name of my castmate, Jerrika Hinton, who did not even attend the event. Lo and behold, there I was!! How did I know I would find them there? Well, because this isn’t the first time this has happened.”

She continued, “Now Jerrika is a beautiful lady, inside and out, with talent for days. I would be flattered to be mistaken for her, if it didn’t seem like the all-too-frequent occurrence of this ‘mistake’ indicated the careless conflation of two black actresses with curly hair on the same tv show. I wonder, does this happen when there are two blonde women in the same cast? When there are two dark-haired white dudes with blue eyes? Maybe it does. But I’ll tell you what — to constantly wonder whether I’m facing a micro-aggression I should call someone out on, or a harmless mistake I should let slide, is a real energy drain. The noise of the internal debate with myself is, as Maggie Pierce said last season, ‘like a low buzz.’ Such is life for people in marginalized groups — including those of us with many privileges — noisy and draining.”

McCreary concluded with, “This morning, I discovered that Getty Images and some other outlets have corrected the error, and I am appreciative.  So I’ll just take this as an opportunity to do a quick PSA—Check your unconscious biases today. We all have them. Managing them takes discipline, vigilance, and self-awareness, and you can practice it anytime. Why not do it today? And in the words of my castmate, I simply ask the folks who are in the business of identifying distinct and unique human beings to Do Better. That is all. Thanks.”

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