After decades of programming that omitted, stereotyped or degraded Black faces, Hollywood has found the audacity to make the 2015 pilot season one of the most diverse in its white-washed history.
That’s pretty much how Deadline’s TV editor, Nellie Andreeva, reacted to the news that the pilots were seeking an abundance of Black talent to fill in diverse casts.
As Andreeva explained, welcoming these Black faces means that white actors and actresses will have opportunity’s doors slammed in their faces and the so-called “progressive” nation of Hollywood will no longer feel the need to follow the usual script of embracing just one Black it-girl at a time.
“Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a colorblind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designed as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal,” Andreeva wrote. “Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered.”
It’s an article that suggests some cackling villain in boardrooms all across Hollywood is actually taking specific measures to increase diversity on TV so that the audience watching finally sees their own stories reflected in mainstream media.
For years, Black actors and actresses have been lucky to even get an audition. Now that they are actually landing lead roles and portraying non-stereotypical characters, it’s just gotten to be too much.
Andreeva continued on to specifically point out roles that were not originally written for Black characters but were given to actors and actresses of color nonetheless.
Among the list was Jada Pinkett Smith being cast for Fox’s Gotham and Wesley Snipes confirmation for the NBC drama pilot Endgame.
Rather than celebrating that fact that in a sea of thousands of white characters, Black and Hispanic stars were finally going to be highlighted and celebrated, Andreeva could only see lost opportunity for white stars.
It’s Hollywood’s version of crying, “Help! The immigrants are going to come over here and take all our jobs!”
Andreeva makes it appear as if what she really cares about is fairness, about the roles going just to the most qualified.
“Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal,” she writes.
“A lot of what is happening right now is long overdue. The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss,” Andreeva continues. “But replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer.”
Meanwhile, social media users and Hollywood’s elite have been quick to bash the article and question just what exactly the Deadline editor was thinking when she wrote it.
Perhaps the most shared reaction so far belongs to Shonda Rhimes.
“1st Reaction: HELL NO. Lemme take off my earrings, somebody hold my purse,” Rhimes tweeted. “2nd Reaction: Article is so ignorant I can’t even be bothered.”
So while Andreeva may still be freaking out about the possibilities of a country with programming that more accurately reflects the demographics of its audience, consumers have made it clear that the arrival of a diverse TV pilot season is a joyous occasion.
Shows with diverse casts, like Empire and How To Get Away With Murder, having dominated ratings and prove that media consumers have an insatiable thirst for more diversity on TV.