Faced with British TV’s indifference to black shows, young writers and directors are taking their talents to the web to find an audience.
HBO’s recent comedy drama Girls, created and co-written by indie wunderkind Lena Dunham, has been the subject of a seemingly endless stream of think pieces. The crux of the matter is the diversity – or lack thereof – that the show displays. A full cast list from Imdb.com showed parts for non-white cast members such as “Jamaican Nanny”, “Young Black Guy”, “Roosevelt Hotel Bellhop” and “Tibetan Nanny”. Of course, Girls is only the latest in a long line of New York-set TV shows that paint a distinctly monochromatic picture. From Seinfeld to Sex and the City to Friends (which recycled the same storyline for two black characters over the series), there is a small-screen tradition of whitewashing the big city.
British TV is not doing much better. The last sitcom with a majority black cast was the Ian Pattison-scripted and almost universally panned The Crouches in 2003. Before that, it was Desmond’s, which ended in 1994, but now thankfully lives on on Channel 4oD. The big breakout successes with majority black casts have been in the genre of gritty “urban realism”, usually focusing on inner-city London, crime and drug deals. The success of one such program, Channel 4’s Top Boy, has seen it recommissioned for a second series.
Yvette Nicole Brown—not to be confused with Sherri Shepherd or Octavia Spencer as she sometimes is—deserves a hand. The actress who plays on NBC’s hit show “Community,” knows better than anyone else the difficulties of being a brown skinned, heavier, comedic woman seeking employment in Hollywood and though it would be easy for her to just be the funny, fat, black side kick Tinsel Town would love to make her, she says it’s not gone happ’n……..
Nelsan Ellis is pure talent and relentless with his craft! Ellis is an award-winning American film and television actor and playwright. With his memorable role on True Blood, it is obvious that Ellis is a powerful actor. In the past, Ellis has worked on numerous projects such as The Help, Secretariat, The Inside and Lost. Nelsan Ellis is truly a force!