Thursday, May 26, 2022

‘Dear White People’ Producer Calls Out Deadline.com’s Casting Article

Producer Lena Waithe attends the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach on February 21, 2015 in Santa Monica, California
Producer Lena Waithe attends the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach on February 21, 2015 in Santa Monica, California

*Lena Waithe, producer of the film “Dear White People,” wrote an op ed piece addressing the article written by Deadline.com’s Nellie Andreeva suggesting that “Empire’s” success has prompted casting directors to now go overboard in casting “ethnic” people…to the possible detriment of white actors.

In her piece, Waithe addresses the Deadline article, as well as the impact of “Empire” and “Empire’s” haters. Read an exceprt below:

Of course the show has its critics. What hit TV show doesn’t? Some folks feel like it shows black people in a negative light, while others don’t like the fact that there are more people of color in front of the camera than there are behind it. Even Empire star Malik Yoba went out of his way to make sure everyone knew the pilot was co-written by a white guy, Danny Strong, and has a white female showrunner who happens to be a lesbian, Ilene Chaiken.

But be that as it may, it’s still a black show that’s destroying everything in its path and for that I think it should be applauded.

With that being said, I knew the Empire effect was coming – I just didn’t know how it would present itself. And alas it showed up in the form of a very misguided Deadline article and a bunch of network pilots popping up with black and Latino actors cast in the lead roles.

The truth is black people shouldn’t be celebrating and white people shouldn’t be running scared, because next pilot season something else will be the new black – and chances are it won’t be us. So black and Latino actors should enjoy this moment while it lasts because eventually Empire will be what Modern Family has become and something else will take its place. I just wish there could be an Asian Empire, a Native American Empire, a Middle Eastern Empire – you know, so every minority group could have a pilot season where they aren’t only going out for the “gay best friend,” “eccentric neighbor” or “angry customer.”

I have a dream too, that one day actors won’t be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their characters. I know we’ve made a lot of progress, but after reading Nellie’s article I was reminded that we still have a long way to go.

Read the article in its entirety here.

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