Amber Riley wants y’all to put some respect on her name!
The 35-year-old actress and singer made her big career break while starring as high schooler and aspiring performer Mercedes Jones in the hit Fox series “Glee.” Although the show concluded in 2015, it seems as if fans’ insistence on continuously referring to her as her former New Direction persona has struck a nerve with the “Single Black Female” actress, and she took to Twitter on Jan. 15 to shut it down once and for all.
“I despise when ppl call me Mercedes,” Riley tweeted. “Put some respect on my name. Call me AMBER or RILEY. It’s wild that I even have to say that. No shade to the show/character that gave me a career, but please stop this sh-t. I don’t answer to it, and if you do it facetiously I’ll block you.”
“I’ve done too much in my career to be reduced to one role,” she added. “Whether you respect the work I’ve done or not, I don’t really care, BUT basic human decency is to recognize me as a person and use my actual name. Boundaries [upside down smile]”
Riley’s statement and demand to be differentiated from her former character were met with a variety of responses, ranging from those who understood why she wouldn’t want her work boiled down to one role to stubborn former “Glee” fans who stated they refuse to call her anything else.
“Please go ahead and block me Amber. I love and respect you and always will. You seem to forget that while you put in the hard work to get where you are, you wouldn’t be there without your fans.”
“The fact that she owes part of her success to her fans doesn’t mean her fans own her or are entitled to anything from her. And you don’t respect her — you’re undermining & talking down to her right now for making an incredibly small but vital & personally meaningful request.”
“Remembered by many fans for being the Mercedes of Glee. I think you should be flattered and proud because even though fans remember you as Mercedes Jones, they think you’re very talented singing, dancing and acting opposite which is no different from other work you’ve done.”
“or maybe just respect the actresses’ wishes rather than being condescending it’s really not that hard if you actually respect her as a talented individual.”
Since the musical dramedy’s conclusion, Riley has gone on to star in film, television, and stage projects, and released her first EP, “RILEY,” in 2020.
When accusations of racially motivated mistreatment surrounding her former co-star Lea Michele captured headlines in 2020, Riley remained fairly distanced from the drama. Instead of sharing personal stories like a handful of her co-stars, she simply wished Michele well and hoped that she’s grown since their time on the set.
“I am not going to say that Lea Michele is racist. That’s not what I’m saying,” adding, “I wish Lea Michele well. I hope that she has an amazing pregnancy, I hope that she has grown.” Riley continued. “She reached out to me, I responded to her, and that’s where it ends for me. I ain’t talk to that girl in two years. I have no hatred or ill will on that end.”
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