Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Someone Please Tell Deadline.com That White Folks Gonna Be Alright

Yesterday, Deadline.com published Nellie Andreeva’s “Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?” — a piece with so many layers of wrong that calling it a wrong lasagna (ht to Kara Brown) doesn’t quite do it justice. It was a wrong lasagna dipped in wrong Progresso Italian bread crumbs, deep fried in wrong six-week-old Crisco, wrapped with a wrong gluten-free soft taco shell, and chopped up and served with a wrong au jus sauce.

Since ingesting all that wrong this early in the morning might lead to dysentery — or, at least, a couple awkward elevator rides — I decided to cut it down to one point.

Hannibal is currently my wife’s favorite show (and mine too), but The Good Wife is second. It airs Sunday night (9pm) on CBS, and since CBS also televised NCAA tournament games last Sunday, I assumed they’d bump The Good Wife out of the rotation that day, and told her so.

When 9 came around, she checked CBS just to see if I might have been wrong. I was. The Sunday night shows were still airing. The tournament games just pushed the schedule back a few minutes. Madame Secretary was currently on, and The Good Wife would be on soon. Neither of us had ever watched Madame Secretary, so we checked it out for a couple minutes, watched Tea Leoni make Tea Leoni faces, got bored with it, and started channel surfing. While channel surfing, I came across some something that Dana Delany appears to be apart of. Which didn’t surprise me. Because Dana Delany has been on something like 1042 different TV shows. You could fill up an entire network’s programming with shows Dana Delany has been on. (Seriously, go look at her IMDb page. It’s like reading a Cheesecake Factory menu.)

A couple minutes later, I checked back on CBS, and The Good Wife was just starting. Cool.

That entire experience lasted less than five minutes. In that time, we saw a show starring Tea Leoni and Tim Daly, left that and saw something starring Dana Delany, and did this all while waiting for a show starring Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. All very talented and very accomplished and very White actors who’ve each been on more TVs than an RCA cable.

And all the reason why the wrong lasagna diarrhea of “Holy shit. These Black actors aren’t leaving any room for White actors” can’t be said with a straight face.

If you think I’m misconstruing Andreeva’s premise and perhaps being a bit unfair, check out the second to last paragraph in the piece.

While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak.

Scientific Translation: Televised Blackness may have reached a critical mass

Barbershop Translation: Y’all niggas have enough

I don’t mean to pick on Leoni, Daly, Delany, Margulies, and Noth specifically. Again, these are very talented and very accomplished actors who’ve presumably worked very hard to be in the positions they’re in today. But there are dozens more people I can name; White actors and actresses who get role after role after role after role after role. And not just guest appearances or three episode-long stints as a judge or someone’s ex-boyfriend. No, these are starring roles. Press junket roles. Awkward Access Hollywood interview roles. Shit that makes you say “Wait…weren’t they just on CSI: Megabus? How’d they get another job that quickly?

Despite its oft-publicized recent increase in diversity, both on screen and behind-the-scenes, TV is still overwhelmingly — and, some would argue, intentionally — White. I can still randomly turn on my TV, start at channel 1, change channels in numerical order, and not see a Black or Brown face until I reach channel 24. How do I know this? Because I just took a break from writing this to do it.

While reading her piece, I couldn’t help but think of Fisher v. University of Texas — the case where Abigail Fisher was denied admittance into the University of Texas. And, instead of just enrolling in one the hundreds of other universities that would have happily taken her — or perhaps doing something about her remarkably “that’s cool, I guess” 1180 SAT score — decided to decide that her Whiteness was keeping her out of UT, and sued. Never mind the fact that UT already had roughly 20,000 White undergraduate students. It was her particular Whiteness, not her mundaneness.

And maybe this is it. Exceptional White people will continue to be exceptional, will continue to get work and will continue to succeed, regardless of the circumstance. But an underlying theme in both Andreeva’s piece and Fisher’s suit is that diversity is affecting the above-average White folks. Instead of continuing to receive the same perks as the exceptionals, the above-averages now might have to work a little harder and compete a little fiercer to maintain their positions, and are feeling the heat. And, to that I say “Oh fucking well.” It’s going to be a long and hot summer, so they better get some Gatorade.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Funny they didn’t even mention the casts of Sleepy Hollow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which are multi-ethnic too.

    These folks will be okay.

  • Pinks

    So forget about GIRLS, Game of Thrones, AWL the CSI iterations, Law & Order, and DANG NEAR EVERY SHOW ON TV with these mostly white casts – we darkies are doing too much.

    Girl, BAH.

    • Val

      Law & Order cracks me up. There are so many episodes where the show starts with a Black person in the first scene. But, they usually just find a dead body, scream and call the police never to be seen again. They do it so much it must be some kind of inside joke for the writers of the show.

      • Pinks

        That, or they’re the crackhead down the skreet who is brought in for questioning before the real killer is found. 2 Chainz was on there recently and I about died laughing.

        • Val

          And don’t forget the poor, single Black mother who makes her son do the right thing and confess to the police.

          • ” Go on Darnell…tellum what you saw boy”

      • Cleojonz

        They do often let them be the judge that you only see for about 30 seconds saying “I will allow it counselor.”

      • AlwaysCC

        as a former l&o junkie, i thought it was interesting that s. epatha was a cleaning lady/witness with a 2 min spot during one of the episodes in the early years. they brought her back later as a different character (the lieutenant) lol

        • Val

          Lol Really? I missed that but I’ve noticed a lot of actors playing different characters on L&O.

    • Charlisia Nwachukwu

      GOT! .. aw! Cannot wait until April 12th.

      • Pinks

        I have yet to swe one episode, but apparently it’s a thing white folks love, so I mentioned it lol

        • Amber

          A lot of us black folks love GOT too

          • jess-s

            GOT is that good, I dont have a color issue with it

          • Pinks

            Apparently, lol

            I been out the loop for forever since I don’t have HBO

            • Charlisia Nwachukwu

              LOL. me either but I got a Roku and a HBO GO Password.. Yasssss!

        • KB

          I want to get into GOT, I keep telling myself I will. I just keep forgetting to go back and watch.
          I tried to get into TWD, It bored me.

          • Pinks

            What’s TWD?

            • KB

              The Walking Dead

              • LMNOP

                I don’t get the whole zombies thing. They are so ugly and creepy looking. Am I the only one who’s seeing this?

                • KB

                  I think it’s been done to death (no pun intended). The CW network has a show called ‘iZombie’ where the lead character is this young, early 20s blonde zombie girl who’s like a medical examiner/forensic scientist that when she eats the brains of the victims, she gets visions about how they were killed. JUST STAHP!

                  • Lea Thrace

                    I last approximately 90 seconds with that CW show. I just couldnt.

                • Question

                  I haven’t seen it myself but from what I’m told, The Walking Dead isn’t about Zombies – its about how seemingly good people can “turn” when put in dire situations. So the zombies are the impetuous for the fight–or-flight decisions people make, but arent really the subject of the show…

      • bigheadbaby

        GOT is the bizzomb! It is good every single episode, but there are some episodes that are breathtaking. Can’t pinpoint why, but I think it must have to do with it being such a harsh world being portrayed that is both extremely brutal and extremely beautiful at other moments. It is really “real” to me because the people that you think are evil often end up having some wonderful qualities and the goody-two-shoes or weak characters end up being extremely strong or have ugly sides to them that show up and put folks on blast. A truly great show that takes you on a roller-coaster ride.

      • Cleojonz

        OMG I keep jumping up and down every time the preview comes on. That show gives me life even though I usually watch half covering my eyes lol.

        • Charlisia Nwachukwu

          me too! I cannot bear the blood and gore but i love the show.

      • HeyBooHey

        I’m keeping my cable PURELY for this HBO hookup I have so I can see GOT. I’m so ready for this season!!!

    • jess-s

      Girls used to be my show, but now hell, white people can keep that ish… it’s weird.

  • Cleojonz

    “Wait…weren’t they just on CSI: Megabus? ”

    Whenever a new CSI iteration pops up my husband and I joke “Hey did you see there was another CSI: Sheboygan?.”

    Apparently we just can’t have anything. We aren’t supposed to have Essence or a Black Girls Rock because if there were white versions that would be racist. They don’t seem to get we still need these things because you still don’t see us that much. 5 primetime mainstream shows does not make for over saturation. And as you mentioned there is still ALOT of work to do behind the scenes there are not enough black writers and certainly not enough executives.

    • Val

      Lol@CSI-Sheboygan.

      I think Bow Wow is on the latest CSI.

      • AlwaysCC

        my hubs keeps asking me if he was on csi…i think he must have seen a commercial with bow wow or something lol

        • Val

          I think it’s some sort of computer CSI show.

          • uniquebeauty79

            CSI:Cyber, yep they hired bow wow and he really looks like the one who would be on the show as a kid that was bullied for being bow wow.

            • AlwaysCC

              lol csi is out of control

              • Val

                So is NCIS. That New Orleans version sucks.

                • AlwaysCC

                  i’ve never even tried to watch it. it doesn’t even look like it’s going to be good.

              • uniquebeauty79

                Bet money. There will be a CSI: High School or College edition that’s gonna be something like 21 Jump Street

                • AlwaysCC

                  lol i might actually try to watch that one!

                  • uniquebeauty79

                    I won’t even lie I probably would too, lol

      • Cleojonz

        He is! I tried to watch it but he is just not believable as a grown up person in a tie. It’s not that he’s a terrible actor either I just can’t get past the fact that he still looks 13 years old with a fresh haircut.

    • afronica

      Your point about black people working behind the scenes on these shows and at studios is directly on point. I read an interview once with some actress and she mentioned being on set for up to 12 hours a day, day after day, and not seeing another black face. Think about what that must be like.

      • Val

        It’s those trade unions. It’s hard to get in unless you know someone.

  • Val

    Whenever I hear the name Tea Leoni I crack up. The networks keep pushing her as a big star and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. Lol She can’t act and she’s not exceptional pretty. What gives?

    Anyway, Champ, I used to be a huge The Good Wife fan too. But, they pulled the racial bait and switch. If you remember, when the show first came on it had a ton of Black folks on. There was Alicia’s secretary. There was a Black lawyer at her firm played by Michael Boatman. There was a Black woman running for office. Anika Noni Rose, I believe. Micheal Ealy was even on the show.

    And then, the ratings became really good and the Black folks just disappeared. They weren’t even really written out of the show. It was just, ‘well, we know Black folks will tune in to see Black folks on TV, so we’ll put a bunch of Black folks on in the beginning to jump start the ratings,and now that we have our ratings we don’t need those Black characters anymore.’

    So, that’s why I don’t watch The Good Wife anymore.

    And, finally, speaking of diversity, The Bible is going to air on NBC. I saw a spot for it and was confused. I was like, who is that White guy with the long str8 hair? Welp, apparently that was supposed to be Jesus. You know, the guy the bible describes as having hair like wool and feet the color of clay. So much for diversity, even when it would be historically correct.

    • Cleojonz

      Tea Leoni is just the worst. I don’t understand how she keeps getting jobs. And you would think someone would get it right and finally at least do a beige Jesus with kinky Hair. Just like how they keep making white Cleopatra.

      • Val

        Yeah, she just had a show on NBC a couple of years ago that bombed. And she’s right back again with a new show on CBS. I don’t understand.

        • Cleojonz

          Some people you cheer for, like there is this actress who’s name escapes me right now who is actually in the theater but for some reason NBC was trying to recycle her for a while. She went from the Olivia’s partner’s military wife on SVU two other shows that ended up canceled. I just was flipping channels recently and found out she landed on Nashville. She’s one of those triple threat type actors so you get her grind. People like Tea Leoni you just shake your head at because I will always just see Bad Boys and remember how terribly awful she was and know she has not progressed much from there.

        • Amber

          Chris Rock talked about racial equality in that it is to allow a black person to be mediocre and still have opportunities to do it again(paraphrased). There are tons of terrible performing actors and poor performing movies even not so classically beautiful white people but they continue to get opportunities to try again. I’m always bothered when black folks repeat the lie that Hollywood is about the $ and we have to support all black entertainment so we can get more. It’s ridiculous tons of predominately white shows and movies bomb annually but they don’t stop making them.

    • Pinks

      Apparently there is a black character on there, whom I think is John the Baptist, but you know they couldn’t make Jesus anything but lily white or face harsh backlash. What I don’t get is why the characters in historic movies always have Victorian British accents – like did NOBODY see anything wrong with this?

      • Val

        Lol Apparently a British accent is universal and can be put in place of any other language and we aren’t supposed to notice.

      • Cleojonz

        No he’s probably Judas because you know…betrayal and evil and ish.

        • Pinks

          Ju riiii, ju riiii. that whole cursed lot of Ham bit

    • Wasn’t T. Leoni, Mel Gibson’s dead girlfriend on the first Lethal Weapon when they tossed him in the water handcuffed, and he had to pop his shoulder like Houdini to get loose right after he saw her in the water too..?
      #justasking

      • Val

        Man, you have a good memory. I don’t recall that. Lol But, she probably was.

      • Swank Tony

        What you’re referring to came from LW2 and the girlfriend was Patsy Kensit.

  • Cleojonz

    And you know what else? F*ck Nellie Andreeva. First of all her title is grammatically incorrect ( I hope it was poor editing). 2nd How can it not be a good thing to see a diverse world on television? That benefits everyone. Too much of a good thing my ass.

  • miss t-lee

    Yeah that UT case was so silly. Local news covered it like crazy. I was like Abigail, sit down. She always could have went to another school, and then re-applied, but noooooooo!

    That would’ve been too much like right.

    “You could fill up an entire network’s programming with shows Dana Delany has been on. (Seriously, go look at her IMDb page. It’s like reading a Cheesecake Factory menu.)”

    Really though. How does she keep getting shows?

    • China Beach was Delany’s only good show.

      • miss t-lee

        I think it’s the only one I halfway watched…lol

        • I watched it along with Tour of Duty. It worked well because it gave a really different P.O.V. to the same war. Both had dope theme songs too.

          • miss t-lee

            True. I remember the theme songs for both shows.

      • AlwaysCC

        i liked body of evidence

    • Amber

      Abigail is the epitomy of entitlement. Going to a school of your choice is not a guarantee.

      • KB

        Same with those kids who sued the Univ of Michigan law school claiming that affirmative action negatively impacted them

      • miss t-lee

        She thought that legacy had things sowed up for her…lol

        • Val

          Wait, hole up…she was a Legacy? Well isn’t that rich. She’s railing against Affirmative Action but wants to benefit from it.

          • miss t-lee
          • AlwaysCC

            i remember a convo with an old coworker about affirmative action. he basically thought it was offensive to minorities to just be there “to fill a quota” if they weren’t qualified. i told him i felt the same way about legacy students. he said he hadn’t thought about it that way before (then he laughed and agreed).

            • black-a-rican

              It’s always nice when someone can step outside of themselves and see something from another POV.

              • AlwaysCC

                yeah it is. it was actually a great discussion that i normally wouldn’t have had with a coworker but we had become friends.

            • And keeping it real, it’s the same ish. Then again, they hide the legacy stuff to play Asians and Jewish against Blacks and Latinos. Think about it. Who gets screwed with legacy admissions? It ain’t us.

              • AlwaysCC

                it’s EXACTLY the same thing. as a white dude, he couldn’t benefit from affirmative action just like i,a black woman, couldn’t benefit from a legacy status because my grandfather wasn’t allowed to attend the school.
                i also used it as an opportunity to point out that affirmative action by no means implies that the candidate is not qualified…

                • Val

                  “… to point out that affirmative action by no means implies that the candidate is not qualified.”

                  And, once you are accepted you still have to do the work. There are no GPA bonuses for being an Affirmative Action student.

                • Personally, I’d like to go straight numbers on the table. Numbers don’t lie, and if you don’t like it, get better numbers.

                  • AlwaysCC

                    we’re >here<.

            • cancergirl08

              I wonder why some white people believe that affirmative action automatically means that black folk will be unqualified for whatever position they get. I just want to tap them on the shoulder and tell them that plenty of qualified black folk get passed over for jobs in favor of subpar or lesser qualified white folk. Why? Because people hire people that they like and feel comfortable around. And for decades, some white folk only wanted to be around white folk. And if they weren’t qualified for the job, they just trained them to do it.

              • Lea Thrace

                say it again for the folks in the cheap seats!

              • AlwaysCC

                yep – we talked about that, too. we basically came to the same conclusion as Todd…go to a merit ONLY based system. in a perfect world, right?

    • Unpopular opinion, but I do wonder if the Fisher case was an example of chess vs. checkers. Think about it for a sec. The original thinking behind affirmative action for colleges was that it was a stopgap measure to be phased out once we figured out what was going on behind those schools. The problem is that a certain percentage of Black folk have been mollified by affirmative action, while the schools in the hood still suck. Meanwhile, a certain percentage of Black people are guaranteed power by getting these admissions as opposed to other groups.

      Perhaps Fisher was nothing but an entitled stalking horse…

      • black-a-rican

        “Meanwhile, a certain percentage of Black people are guaranteed power by getting these admissions as opposed to other groups.”

        The only group that doesn’t benefit from affirmative action are white people. Asians and Latinos are winning too.

        • Val

          White women benefit from it.

          • Mimzi

            more than anyone else

          • black-a-rican

            True, I just don’t consider them minorities because they do so much as @Mimzi:disqus said below.

        • Not really Asians. In fact, there’s some studies that show that some schools use affirmative action as some divide and conquer ish regarding people of color.

          • black-a-rican

            I disagree. I live in Florida and see more Asians than Blacks on campuses despite the fact that Blacks outnumber Asians greatly in population here.

            • Let me explicate my logic for a moment. There are two sets of hard and fast numbers used for college admissions: high school grades and SAT/ACT scores. Full stop. Let’s also look at American-educated college students to avoid the real issues of grade fraud with international students, and acknowledge that students can go to school some of anywhere so long as someone comes up with the paper.

              I remember reading multiple studies that the main reason that top-named schools don’t want to go to numbers is that it would jack up the number of Asian students substantially…and White kids would be the ones missing out. (The Black and Latin admission numbers wouldn’t change much one way or another.) This started coming out because some Asians noticed that the number of Asians on campus seemed to perfectly hit the name number without variation.

              Also, in California, a number of Asian groups have started fighting against affirmative action, noticing both the numbers game put on them and the number of Black and Latin kids on campus. What they don’t realize is that the legacies is what’s ultimately forcing people of color to compete against each other. That’s what I mean by divide and conquer. The legacies mean that White people get theirs (all while screwing poor Whites, but that’s another story) and forcing POC to a fight to the death for admission spots.

            • Grrr…the main comment is being moderated. The point is that despite Asians consistently getting better grades than White kids, they are less likely to get in. White people then turn around and get them to blame affirmative action for Blacks for their plight.

              • black-a-rican

                1) Don’t curse so much.
                2) This is possible. Schools fill much of their “Asian quota” with international students because of the tax and funding benefits.

              • LMNOP

                Yeah, I’ve heard this, that a lot of Asian kids get bumped for white kids with worse grades. White people probably benefit from “affirmative action” more than anybody else, but are somehow always complaining (and suing) about it.

      • miss t-lee

        You have to realize also that here in Texas, if you finish in the top 10% of your class, you’re guaranteed admission to any state school.

        UT mainly has tried to close the door on that policy, because it was letting in too many minority folks in, and of course, this is upsetting them other folks who thought they could just skate in on their legacy, somewhat decent SAT and GPAs.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_House_Bill_588

        That’s pretty much the reason I will shed no tears for ol Abigail.

        • I’m not thinking of that Texas policy as much as affirmative action overall. Still, you have a point about legacies. If we went to straight numbers on the table, we’d have all these elite schools with like 30-40% Indian and Asian kids…but that’s another story.

          • miss t-lee

            I’m just talking about the case here. She wasn’t getting in, period, and decided to pitch a fit by having her Daddy’s friend make a case.

            *insert white tears gif*

  • Lea Thrace

    My level of cant is so high today. Mufckers just want me going around throat punching everything I see today.

    http://i.giphy.com/12I0zvnRp4Lq92.gif

    http://i.giphy.com/nCidwZ3Bd7hew.gif

    http://i.giphy.com/AOquVSuPKZerC.gif

    And just to make the do*chebags at deadline happy, NO ETHNICS WERE USED IN THE MAKING OF THESE GIFS!

  • Yet Another Lurker

    Even among Asian-Americans, “Fresh Off The Boat” is the ONLY show I can think of in all my life where a predominately Asian-American cast weren’t ninjas or mystical beings in a fantasy/old world. I just need some of these white people to calm the hell down. Nobody is coming for you, sweetie. Apparently, non-white Americans who want to see themselves represented as human beings is too damn threatening ::eye roll::

  • Lea Thrace
    • Cleojonz

      this gif is everything!

    • miss t-lee

      One of my fave gifs…lol

    • KB

      As soon as I read this article this was the gif that came to mind.

    • Charlisia Nwachukwu

      Tee Hee.. loves it. Get over yourself!

    • Tonis

      I love the dance! That’s my “did good at work” dance lol

  • IsitFridayyet?

    Since I am also a fan of The Good Wife, I’ll allow Alicia Florrick to demonstrate my reaction to the Deadspin piece:

    http://i919.photobucket.com/albums/ad36/strangerthandreams/The%20Good%20Wife/tgw505-01_zps536bd31d.gif

    I’m all for listening to arguments of other people with an open mind but Nellie Andreeva’s theory simply does not make sense. 2015 is not the first time that there has been mutliple shows with African-Americans in lead roles. Martin, Fresh Prince, Family Matters, In Living Color, The Cosby Show, A Different World shared time on tv with each other at some point . They were watched by a variety of racial deomographics. I’m not understanding her logic.
    I also have a question: Why did she feel the need to use the term “quota” to describe the current Hollywood climate of hiring “ethnics”. Writers are very careful about their choices in words and hers say a lot.

    • Tonis

      She said quota on purpose because she feels that POC don’t deserve alladat… We’re just filling in the numbers to make a point. It’s not like we ACTUALLY exist in the real world.

    • Tonis

      Plus I feel some kinda way about ethnic… I’m just plain old black, but I’m just as American as anyone else. I feel ethnic is more reserved for immigrant cultures. Like the way the Jane the Virgin actress caught flack for saying that Hispanics should stick together and worry about the separate cultures like Cuban, Venezualan, etc. Those are considered ethnic to me. Black is its own culture too, but my Jamaicain and Haitian LS’s consider themselves as having a completely separate culture from me and I agree with that. I just feel that it does a disservice to lump every POC as ethnic and every white person as not without taking into account the different stories

      • Word…there’s a major different between being African-American and West Indian. Heck, there’s a difference between the White ethnics and the WASPs and good ol’ boys. I definitely see your point.

    • Your second paragraph does bring to mind a question. Notice that out of that whole demographic, no one really blew up on TV from that crew, or even got other shows. Will Smith and Jim Carrey got that movie paper, the rest of the In Living Color crew got their random flicks to varying effects(except that White chick, which I hope the cast sends a donation every now and again), and then the rest of the crew disappeared off the ether.

      The equation is somewhat different this time around in that the shows are built around Black stars who blew up before they got to TV. Still, you have to wonder if this is just a trend or something permanent. That’s the open question.

      • jess-s

        “shows built around Black stars who blew up before they got to TV”

        I really think the days of discovering original stars (black or white) for primetime slots on network TV is long gone.

      • IsitFridayyet?

        “Still, you have to wonder if this is just a trend or something permanent.”

        I don’t know, this time around it feels different. It does not seem like a trend but a change in dynamic. If writers and filmmakers who are POC don’t see themselves reflected on major media outlets, they are using other avenues to showcase their art. Their audiences are putting their money where their mouth is and supporting their efforts.

        If major media outlets refuse to acknowledge this shift they risk making themselves obsolete.

        • I need to holla at my boy in TV and see what he sees behind the scenes. If there are more POC showrunners, then I’m buying it. After all, they aren’t going to hand over the keys to someone on some diversity effort ish. You have to somehow show that you are going to make them money. That said, it’s not something that’s easy to tell unless you’re in the industry.

        • afronica

          My first impulse when reading the Deadline piece last night was anger.

          My second impulse was well, let’s say the tide turns and they lock out black and brown actors again like the did after the 90’s. Guess I’ll be shifting more time and my money to web series and whichever Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/HBO Now original programming there is that looks interesting and diverse.

          • IsitFridayyet?

            I whole-heartedly agree. There is more freedom now than there has been in the past. I am relishing in my ability to choose what I want to see and support financially.

    • jess-s

      I agree with you. Writers should be protective of how they should see their characters they create but when you cast
      “a young bright female college student from Maryland who is a waitress on nights and weekends”
      She can be African American or White American. I guessing before the quotas the character would just be white.

    • pls

      I don’t even mind white folks using “ethnic” cuz it lets me know they acknowledge the fact that they have no culture. Anything they have was stolen from all us “ethnics” and they can keep their white tears. things are happening and i’m so glad i’m alive to see so many black people wake up to their bs!

    • afronica

      First, when Alicia did that on the show, I almost fell off my bed. I love it when she finds her backbone.

      Andreeva used “ethnics” because, as I think Luvvie said last night on Twitter, she wanted to say nukkas but couldn’t.

      Her use of the term “quotas” made sense to me. To me, entertainment runs on nepotism, the casting couch and numbers. Talent, having a fresh voice, or creating something that uses a new paradigm – all that comes in way down the list of what makes Hollywood go. There was an interview with Don Cheadle years ago where he described a Q rating. It was a measure of how recognizable an actor was to middle of the road audiences, how favorable their image was, and how much their most recent projects made (domestically and abroad). He said that every decision maker at every studio used this rating to create lists given to casting directors. At that time, he wasn’t supposed to have known about the Q rating, but stumbled across it on someone’s desk while at a meeting.

      Once you understand that someone with a 25 year career in tv, movies and on stage can be boiled down to a number, you understand that there are definitely quotas in place for ever role on every show. You also understand that actors are basically products that are sold to us, like soda or Charmin.

    • Sleepy Time Warrior

      She knew what she was doing when she chose those words. Heaven forbid we even the playing field so that talented and trained actors/actresses of color are afforded opportunities, the only reason why there more shows with POC leads is because of a quota system…which by the way using the word “quota” is another way of saying “forced hire, regardless of ability”

    • Writers, at times, are also very vindictive. There’s a pleasure that comes in being able to use words to tear down a person, business or institution, that far outweighs the pleasure of knocking someone out – there’s less risk involved.

      The problem with people like Andreeva, and other people who make comments or critics about conspiracies involved in the media and representation, is that like I always say, a. they have a tinge of elitism in them, and b. they don’t account for failures in their assessments. There are a ton of shows that fail, get canceled or don’t even reach the mainstream every year in Hollywood. The ones that make it and become successful are usually the ones that critics make their overall evaluations on, which usually implies that they are not criticizing the show, they are criticizing the audience.

      As for why there are an increasing number of black TV shows on, well, people who understand the business of Hollywood know why. The increase of avenues to gain entertainment have been eating into the profits of TV and Film, thus why the never-ending list of mergers every five years or so among entertainment companies. When it’s harder to make money and dominate markets, big businesses become less creative and more averse to risk taking, so they try to replicate what’s worked in the past: thus why all the sequels to movies and the remakes in movie theaters. In TV, a great example of this is Empire. There are the obvious things borrowed like Dynasty or even Dallas. Then there are the implied ones, like King Lear(first episode)…and then there are the blatant ones, kind of like how Taraji is pretty much playing herself, as an older version of herself from Baby Boy, and Terrence is basically playing his character from Hustle and Flow, who actually made it. It’s a good marketing strategy to tell the same story and just blacken the characters, that way people are oblivious to the fact that they are getting used goods.

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