Welcome back to Queer Beats, your weekly one-stop shop for queer television news! This week, cast members from many tv shows spoke up about the treatment of Black people within the television industry.
Before launching into this week’s news, it’s impossible to move forward without recognizing the protests happening across the country right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the racism present in this country’s police force, most recently evidenced by the murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
As a white woman, I want to make sure I am using all of my (albeit small) platforms to amplify black voices and resources to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. Although diverse representation is something I have always strived for in Queer Beats, I am aware of how particularly important it is to raise black voices and queer black voices during this time. Therefore, this week’s Queer Beats will focus on the many Black voices from our beloved queer TV shows who are bravely sharing their own stories of racism and mistreatment within the TV industry.
Ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement with your time, money, or signature can be found HERE. And in celebration of Pride Month, consider donating to fundraisers for Tony McDade‘s family, Iyanna Dior, and the Okra Project.
Nafessa Williams joined the protests this week and compared it to her role on Black Lightning:
Candice Patton (of The Flash) will rightfully require donations for her participation in future diversity panels.
Samantha Marie Ware, a former cast member on Glee, responded to Lea Michele’s tweet about the murder of George Floyd. She called out Michele for her treatment of fellow cast members on the set of the show.
And Amber Riley, also from Glee, joined the conversation:
Although not related to the protests, I still want to recognize that it was announced this week that Maisie Richardson-Sellers will be leaving Legends of Tomorrow. I was devastated by the news, as Charlie is one of my favorite characters, but it is particularly heartbreaking to lose a character of color from the show right now. I would like to note that it does sound like it was Maisie’s choice to leave to pursue other projects and I hope the fandom continues to show her support in her future work.
There’s institutional racism present in all television networks, but I don’t think it is any secret that it is a particular problem within the CW shows. It is important to recognize the work many of the Black actors on the CW have put in to highlight these issues, support one another, and fight for equality within their industry.
Vanessa Morgan has been vocal about her mistreatment on Riverdale (and has been for many years). It is particularly brave on Vanessa’s part to speak on these issues and risk her own job in doing so.
During Pride month, it is important to remember that we need to lift up our Black trans siblings. They face an extremely high level of violence from police, other citizens, and through institutionalized transphobia and racism. Nicole Maines and Roxy Wood took to Instagram Live to answer questions on this issue:
And that’s it for Queer Beats this week. Always thorough, always professional, never random.