Karrueche Tran is coming into her own as a businesswoman, actress and philanthropist, making it her mission to spread positivity, even when met with shade or ridicule.
In part two of our exclusive interview, the CLAWS star breaks down her experience growing up biracial in the City of Angels, why it’s so important to combat social media hate and confirms that sparks are flying with her potential new bae.
Your mother is Vietnamese and your father is African-American. When you were younger, did you ever feel out of place or isolated because you are biracial? Or did growing up in a diverse city like Los Angeles make it easier?
I was always somewhere in the middle. In elementary school, I identified more with my Asian side. I had a lot of Korean friends and then once middle school hit, it was a little more diverse. It was still a weird place to be, because around the Asians, I was brown-skinned. Around Black girls, I wasn’t Black enough, you know?
I was too light, or my hair was too straight. It was confusing, but being in LA, there are a lot of mixed-race people, as opposed to the experience of someone raised in the South or anywhere that’s more segregated. Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge struggle for me, but it was something I dealt with.
Why was it important for you to start the social media movement, ‘#WithLove?’ Where did that idea come from?
Coming from somebody who went through a very public situation that heavily involved social media, I think that there’s a message missing about being loved and being loving. My main message is for people to live your life through love. That doesn’t necessarily mean through a relationship. It could be your friends, your family, your workplace, even just walking down the street and smiling, saying “Hi!” Embracing positivity!
I love social media. There are a lot of benefits and it gives us a platform for what we want to become, but there’s always such a negative tone to it. You see a picture and the first thing you see or think is a negative comment.
We’re all guilty of it, but let’s try to turn that negative thinking into positive thinking. With my platform, being able to spread that message, my audience should know that it’s OK to be nice! We don’t have to be rude!
We don’t have to be petty!
Exactly! Everybody wants to be petty!
Why do you think it’s so “cool” to be petty? When did that become something to be proud of, especially on social media?
I think it’s just the easiest way out for some people, you know? It’s easy to just be rude or just be nasty. I think it’s actually harder for people to say something positive; it’s interesting.
If our millennials now are moving forward with this negative tone, then it’s just going to keep going and going. I think it’s very important to spread a message of love and make some kind of change out there.
Speaking of love, is there any truth to reports that you’re dating Victor Cruz?
[Laughs] Yeah! We’ve been hanging out and getting to know one another. My main priority is always work, but he’s a gentleman. He’s a sweet guy and he’s really nice. We’re taking it slow, but yes!
Stay tuned for the third and final part of our exclusive interview, where the young actress dishes on Season 2 of CLAWS and her continued fight for respect within Hollywood.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.