Erika Alexander hopes ‘American Fiction’ prompts “brave” conversation about race in America

Claire Folger

The new film American Fiction satirically explores conversations about race being had in the U.S. today.

Jeffrey Wright plays an author tired of having his work ignored, so as a joke he writes a novel that he finds offensive in the way it deals with Black stereotypes — a novel that becomes a major hit, but not in the ironic way he had intended.

Erika Alexander plays Wright’s love interest in the film, and she tells ABC Audio race is a topic everyone should explore.

“This is an American conversation,” she says. “It’s not about Black people. It’s about how we see each other, identity, the things that we do that could help us to be successful, may take a piece or part of you away that you need. And it’s good to have these conversations because we’ve all done it.”

Alexander suggests that although African Americans “stick out,” other cultures have been stereotyped. 

“These same conversations happened between the Irish and the Italians who are grouped to be white people,” she says. “But before that, weren’t considered to be able to go into those same rooms.”

As for her wishes for the film: “I’m hoping that it not only changes, but I hope it gives everybody a chance to be brave and go at some of these conversations.” 

American Fiction premieres in select theaters Friday, December 15.  

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