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Amanda Seales discusses Russell Simmons and colorism with ‘The Breakfast Club’

The actress/comedian from 'Insecure' talks about sexual assault and harassment allegations against Russell Simmons, colorism in Hollywood, and more.


Amanda Seales is one of several key members of the colorful ensemble that helps make Issa Rae’s Insecure a hit series. The actress, comedian and former VJ is also one of several women who have publicly spoken out against Russell Simmons, who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by six women. Seales addressed her accounts of her uncomfortable experience with the music mogul during her most recent trip to The Breakfast Club.

On Russell Simmons asking if they ever had a sexual encounter: “I was sitting in his office and we were talking about Insecure, and he was saying ‘big-ups on Insecure. I really like what you’re doing in the show.’ This was 2016. And he was like, ‘Oh Amanda, we’ve ever fucked?’

On why Russell Simmons hasn’t been confronted by more people in his circle: “I think to him it’s humorous, because he’s said this to people before. I think that’s why it didn’t register to anyone in the room as problematic. You know, because they are just like, ‘Oh that’s Russ. He’s just doing his Russ thing.’ For me, especially after being out of hip-hop for so long now, it’s so much sharper, because I don’t experience that in the comedy space.”

“You can’t fight this battle as one person. Also, as I’m sitting in that office it’s a reminder that I’m in someone else’s office. So it does feel crazy to be on them like ‘Yo, what you doing?!’ It definitely is always funny to me when people say, ‘Why don’t you say anything?’ There are so many valid, regular reasons why you don’t say anything.

On if she’s benefitted from colorism: “I think ‘helped’ is a strong word. I think there are always things that happen outside of your consciousness. I don’t know if there’s been conversations outside of my awareness that may have been rooted in that. ... I do think there’s still a unique space that happens when you are a light-skinned person within the Black community and society.”

Check out the former MTV VJ’s full chat with The Breakfast Club above.

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