Black Italian actress Lorena Monroe Cesarini called out racism while she cohosted the Sanremo music festival in San Remo, Italy Wednesday. After it was announced that she would be a guest at the annual event, Cesarini claims she experienced racism for the first time after growing up in Italy.
While wearing one of four dazzling looks onstage at the Ariston theater for the live broadcast, the 34 year-old recited the messages she received ahead of her appearance.
“Maybe they called you to wash the staircase or water the plants.”
“They invited you because you are Black,” she recalled another message saying, according to the Associated Press.
Here’s more from AP:
“Evidently for someone, the color of my skin is a problem,” said the actress best known for her role in the Italian serial drama “Suburra.”
Cesarini, who was born in Dakar, Senegal, to a Senegalese mother and Italian father, received shouts of support from the live audience, including one who yelled, “You’re Italian,” to which she responded, “Yes, and proud.”
She told the audience that she remained perplexed by the messages: “Why do people feel the necessity to write such things on social media? Why do people have a problem with the color of my skin?”
Incidents of racism in Italy have drawn more attention in recent years. Both public and private Italian TV have come under fire for the persistent use of racist language and imagery, and the failure to generally represent second-generation Italians of African or Asian descent as integral to society. Black Italian designers have also been pushing for more representation in the fashion world.
Cesarini is known for her roles in “Suburra: Blood on Rome,” “Il professor Cenerentolo” and “Three Perfect Daughters.”