Why The Female Protagonist of The Devil In A Blue Dress Reminds Me of Meghan Markle

Adebayo Adeniran
4 min readSep 20, 2022

The profound tragedy of crossing the colour line

Meghan Markle via Wikimedia Commons

It was the preeminent African-American scholar — William Burghardt Dubois — who wrote the most extraordinarily powerful words which have stood the test of time:

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line

the question of how far differences of race . . . will hereafter be made the basis of denying to over half the world the right of sharing to their utmost ability the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization

It was true then and it rings powerfully true today.

Anyone who has seen the film adaptation of The Devil In The Blue Dress starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Tom Sizemore and Jennifer Beals may understand the basis of this post.

For some reason, Daphne Monet, played by Jennifer Beals was the character that I was struck by the most.

And I should try to explain why.

Unbeknownst to Easy Rawlings, Monet had incriminating photographs of a mayoral candidate — Matthew Terrell — who in turn knew a secret about the female protagonist that she was so desperate to conceal.

Over the course of the film, we get to learn about the extent to which Monet conceals her racial identity and how it all tragically fell apart when her boyfriend made the all important decision of jettisoning her for his political career.

What has this got to do with Meghan, I hear you ask?

The colour line.

Race.

Meghan Markle, like Daphne Monet, was able to pass for the very longest time.

Her speech, mannerisms and entire persona were carefully constructed to ensure that she got away, as far as possible, from her Blackness. I daresay that she was and is incredibly ambivalent about her racial heritage.

While Prince Harry has shown exceptional courage in crossing the colour line unlike Todd Carter in the film, even he has been taken aback by the tsunami of abuse and scrutiny that has been dished out to his wife and children, as evinced in the video below:

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible