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‘Rings of Power’ star Sophia Nomvete on fighting racist backlash: “My place on this show isn’t just a celebration, it’s an act of defiance”


Various cast members of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series have spoken out about the racist backlash they received when they joined the Tolkien universe, and now actress Sophia Nomvete, who plays Disa, is opening up about what that experience was like in detail.

Bee The Hollywood Reporter’At the second annual Raising Our Voices Luncheon sponsored by the Golden Globes, GenSpace and East West Bank, Nomvete joined a talk on Wednesday about “The State of Inclusion in Storytelling,” moderated by Gloria Calderón Kellett. Asked by Calderón Kellett about the negative reaction, Nomvete – whose character is the first female dwarf of color in Under the spell of the Ring universe – said her casting was “a huge moment, both personally and professionally. And I think I kind of naively skipped thinking it’s going to be great. I’m a dwarf, it’s going to be so much fun.”

“When the announcement came out and pictures appeared of just our faces of who we played, I was statistically the most attacked cast member on the entire show,” she continued. “There were N bombs, I had no place here. “You’re too fat, you’re too black. Why are you here?’ I had one that was actually very polite who said, ‘I’m sure you’re a great actress and a very sweet person. I just don’t think you should be a part of this, it’s not right. If you could maybe just send a letter to Amazon resigning, I’d be very grateful.’” Nomvete joked, “I thought, ‘No, I’m not going to do that, I can’t.’ I can’t afford to step down for you, so unfortunately I’m here to stay,” even as her family was threatened.

When I decided to stay on the Amazon series, “I realized that my place on this show isn’t just a celebration, it’s an act of defiance against a reality that just isn’t true, which is that we don’t have a place on screens or in fantasy rooms,” she said, adding that one day she received a message that paralyzed her to the point where she was unable to get out of bed. The next day, her husband sent her a picture of their daughter pointing at Nomvete’s face on a billboard in London.

“I realized that for her, and for the future of our industry and the generation, it’s a must that I stand in my power and my light and do as much as I can with this character,” the actress said. “And so I marched to the showrunners and I begged them to make this moment important. I begged them not to make her submissive or just the wife of or the funny fat friend. I begged them to make her quite a sexual titan. She noted that her character gets a kiss on screen, wears the fewest clothes, and has her own drive and ambition.

“I went through the seven stages of mourning by reading some commentaries and then understood the assignment. I understood the assignment, and that was to help people understand and embrace and love them – you would never ignore a child if they were scared. They are afraid. They’re scared because they haven’t seen us before,” Nomvete continued. “So in that moment and on this show, I made it my mission to reduce their anxiety, and to make them understand and to teach them that it’s okay, that we can tell a story, that we can be here and the show that it makes things better, that it makes our industry and our world better for it.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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