White shared that he was told he’d be wasting his time to submit himself for Emmy consideration
Actor Jaleel White, known for his iconic role as Steve Urkel on the 1990s ABC sitcom Family Matters. Said despite his success, Hollywood treated him differently compared to other successful, white child actors.
White, 45, mentioned fellow successful child actors like Mayim Bialik who starred on Blossom and Fred Savage of Wonder Years. And in contrast, “You were made to feel African-American.”
“Fred Savage was always invited to the Emmys; he was always treated like a darling during this time. I was never invited to the Emmys, even to present. I was pretty much told that I would be wasting my time to even submit myself for nomination,” White said.
In an episode of his popular podcast Ever After. he spoke with fellow former child actor Bialik when discussing Black television culture and the differences of their experiences.
“Family Matters really appealed to me because it was what I imagined Black people can be like. I was like, ‘Why didn’t this exist before?’ With the exception of The Cosby Show,” Bialik told White.
“Go listen to that episode with Mayim. Because she brought the pain when it came to the honesty about the differences of being a white child actor and a Black child actor. Particularly back then,” White said.
White reflected on his childhood fame while also sharing the platform with now adult-child stars including Raven Symone, Keke Palmer, Tyler James Williams, and Melissa Joan Hart.
He said his hope is to keep the conversations on his podcast going with other child stars. Especially those who faced difficulty adjusting to adulthood.
“I root for people. You know, if Lindsay Lohan were to land some awesome role or make a transition to directing or something like that. She would be owed an invitation,” White said.
When the discussion addressed the absence of his former Family Matters co-star Jaimee Foxworth. Who played Judy Winslow, was omitted from the Entertainment Weekly reunion in 2017, he said he’d be open to speaking with her.
Foxworth was fired at the end of season four as her character famously disappeared from the series with no further mention of her.
“I’d love to have a conversation with Jamiee, at least so she understood my point of view,” White said. “I’d hold her to the same standard as all my guests. Let’s talk about the work, and let’s talk about the transition from job to job. I think we’d have a good conversation.”
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