Black Actresses May Not Be Making Strides in Hollywood After All
Remember earlier this year when we were inundated on an almost daily basis with news of black actress after black actress being picked to lead or co-lead new shows this fall season? Well, now that promo for many of those shows have kicked off, I am starting to see a disturbing trend.
Back in May networks held their Upfront events where they attempt to convince advertisers to support their shows. It was then we got our first look at Quantico, a new police drama from ABC. The Hollywood Reporter, and many other sites, reported Aunjanue Ellis as having landed the Female Lead. However, one look at Quantico’s trailer shows that to be absolutely false.
While the show has a lead female, and she is of color, the color isn’t black and the lead is actually Indian actress Priyanka Chopra.
I then noticed a similar situation with the new Starz horror fest Ash vs Evil Dead.
Former Girlfriends actress Jill Marie Jones had previously been reported as the show’s co-lead/female lead. However, I noticed Jill was not a part of the show’s panel at last week’s San Diego Comic Con. Instead, the show was repped by Bruce Campbell (lead male) and former Xena: Warrior Princess actress Lucy Lawless.
So, what gives? Is Jill the co-lead/lead female or not?
Well, simply put, NO.
I visited the show’s official Facebook page and the stars are listed as Campbell and Lawless. Jones’ name and likeness are nowhere to be found.
Likewise, blink and you’ll miss her in the official trailer.
So, why the misinformation? How did usually reliable sources like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety mange to misidentify these two black actresses as leads in shows where at best they are simply supporting characters?
If I had to guess, I would say hype. After the success of shows like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Empire, I think a lot of networks wanted to get in on the diversity trend, and were quick to scream that they too would soon have their own Cookie, Olivia and Annalise.
So, is this a big deal? Only time will tell, but I get the feeling as the fall season draws nearer, we will find that black actresses probably haven’t made the gains in Hollywood we’ve recently been led to believe.