Harris, an Oscar-nominated actress, is starring in the crime drama centered around her role as a rookie New Orleans cop who accidentally captures a cop-involved killing of a young Black drug dealer on her body cam. She then has to go on the run to save her own neck.
But Harris recalled a time when she watched a casting director and director stand by and look as an A-List actor violated her by groping her.
She told Extra she never told her story early on because of the lack of support. But she now feels encouraged to share it.
“It wasn’t a kind of decision where I was like, ‘Now, I’m going to share my story because I had hidden it for so long…’ It was a real celebration of the fact that I feel as though things have moved on so dramatically since when I first started in this industry. In my 20s, when that incident happened, I didn’t feel there was anybody I could tell about it.”
“I spoke to other actresses and my fellow actresses all experienced something of that kind… It was always expected. We were expected to kind of develop this resilience… Now, I know the culture has completely changed… Consequences happen. I’m really excited about the change.”
Harris stopped short of revealing the actor’s identity. She explained: “I would never do that. It’s not about that person. I don’t want my whole narrative to be hijacked by one person’s name. I’m not defined by what one person did to me… I don’t know how wide-reaching his abuse of power was. It was one incident that happened and thankfully it wasn’t scarring in any way. I got over it and lived to tell the tale.”
In her newest role, Harris plays a tough cop, a far cry from the crack addict character that she played in Moonlight, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nod.
“I love playing strong, amazing women because I think they’re underrepresented. We don’t have enough of those, especially not as leads in the movies.”
Black and Blue is expected to hit theaters October 25.