Noma Dumezweni wins Best Actress in a Supporting Role for 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' at The Olivier Awards, April 2017
Noma Dumezweni wins Best Actress in a Supporting Role for 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' at The Olivier Awards, April 2017

Women need to learn how to be angry, says Harry Potter actor Noma Dumezweni

‘If you suppress your anger through fear or passivity it can and will go on to explode’

Sabrina Barr
Friday 30 November 2018 11:23
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Actor Noma Dumezweni, best known for playing Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has explained why it’s essential for women to be able to express their anger freely.

As a young girl, Dumezweni was always taught to keep any feelings of anger concealed so as to “make others feel comfortable”, a childhood lesson that many women will undoubtedly be able to relate to.

Now at the age of 49, the Laurence Olivier Award winner has discussed why it’s important for women to be able to acknowledge their anger and convey it in a healthy way.

Writing for the BBC 100 Women series, the actor discusses how feeling angry as a child, teenager and adult had left her with “deep feelings of shame”.

Citing specific moments in her life in which she experienced “full rage”, Dumezweni explains how she reached those moments of intense fury by bottling up her anger for years.

“I see now that these were boiling points - slow-build internalised anger that bubbled over when triggered by a sometimes random moment - the way I perceived a shoulder shrug, a sigh, or laughter,” she says.

Expressing her anger may have also led to disparagers labelling Dumezweni as an “angry black woman”, a derogatory stereotype that’s been used in the past to insult other individuals such as Serena Williams.

“Chances are a black woman sharing her point of view with any sort of emotion can be a challenge for those witnessing it, especially those without the same life experiences,” Dumezweni writes.

“What I have learned is that if you suppress your anger through fear or passivity it can and will go on to explode.”

In addition to gaining a greater sense of self as an adult, Dumezweni has also learnt a lot about the importance of not suppressing anger from her 11-year-old daughter, Qeiva.

She explains how being a mother to Qeiva has given her an insight into the minds of today's teenagers, in addition to teaching her valuable lessons about her own internalised anger.

“Feelings are all-encompassing, especially on the way to adolescence!” she says.

“What I hope she learns from me is not to squash them. To let them pass through and understand they are there for a reason.”

When the news that Dumezweni was going to play Hermione in the stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was announced in December 2015, the actor experienced a backlash from critics who opposed the casting decision.

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While many may have expected Dumezweni to respond to the criticism with anger, she chose to rise above it, as she explains.

“Because my sense of self wasn’t in jeopardy, and the fact I was supported by those working with me, I could step back and not engage with other people’s prejudice,” she says.

“I could save my anger to use as a powerful and positive force."

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