In no particular order, My Top Five, All-Time Favorite Shows as a child and their token black characters.
#1 Lisa Turtle- Ladies come on. Style, elegance, and class. Why is it that the two hottest most interesting guys in school, Zack Morris and AC Slater never really wanted her? For the 90s, that would have been a powerful statement. I’ll skip it and save it for therapy… Damn, I regret taking notes during The College Years. Seriously, I titled it ‘Code To College’ which I read daily. I wrote phrases like “Challenge yourself to grow in new and exciting ways!”
#2 Kiki- The Midnight Society. Major props to Nickelodeon. They went there. Please, please tell me you secretly tried to join by making up your own ghost story. Anyone…? Despite the lack of diversity in the main cast, these guys were my dream friendship circle. And kudos to them for their strict code of ethics, wild imaginations, chill-laxed parental guidance, and wooded access. As long as you could tell a great story, you were in.
# 3 Kel– Welcome to Good Burger. Home of the Good Burger Can I take your order? A thousand times yes. I need and want orange soda in my life, especially if Kel’s pouring. I doesn’t matter if I hate fruit sodas. Something about a dimwitted boy in braids that brings me food. MAJOR props again to Nickelodeon for creating such a diversified show. Lest we forget Kenan Thompson, Nick Cannon and the other two…
# 4 Rona-Rona in season 7, who quickly broke her arm. Honorable mentions: Nicki Wood and Kendra Young and the first slayer was apparently African-American or aboriginal.
# 5 Sonny Corinthos and Carly Benson Merp?! Who didn’t die this week, fall in love, or lose their memory? I had a massive meltdown when Carly gets kidnapped by Sonny’s brother Ric Lansing. My cousin turned ever so calmly and said, just watch the next episode. Then what? Keep watching… True story I recorded these suckers on VHS during college so I could fast forward to their character plots.
#6 Bonus– Major shout out to these cats who rocked a full African-American Cast, ya dig?!
What Happened To The 90s?
I’m beginning to think more critically about my fire starters. Namely, authentic storytelling encompassing the human experience. It’s my biggest yes, please! I need to experience love, pain, sorrow, pleasure, ecstasy, and laughter through the form. And bonus, it’s 2020, we’re more than token and black so there’s that. Come out the closet with your biggest yes of the year. Yes, I’m a POC artist. Now, what’s out there!
Here are eight amazing diversity and inclusion opportunities in the industry. I’ve been fortunate to audition two on the list. CBS’s Comedy Showcase and UCB’s Diversity Scholarship. Throw yourself into unknown waters this year. It’s never too late. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to hit up Mike on ActorCEOs Twitter when you nab an audition.
Diary of A Mad Black Woman was on DVD. Tyler Perry had broken ranks as a theatre producer and was on his way to becoming the hottest, most talented producer for African-American family-friendly films. At least according to my youth pastor. This was an emergency, we had to watch. Growing up, the film and television viewing standards at GCF were harsher than the FCC. If it don’t mention God, don’t mention it. My excitement level tripled. This was campfire level excitement. Yes, girl he’s in a wig AND he wrote it AND he’s in it. Rhonda, how can you not know this? No, no, no, he was like doing this on stage in Atlanta wellll before this. Yeah girl, YES! There are plays…PLAYS!
I’m hashing out my 10,000 hours at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As I do, I’m wrestling philosophically and asking myself questions like– How does my brownness impact my work as an artist? Why did I glaze over The Last Black Man In San Francisco? Am I watching diversified content to support, find, and encourage other POC artists?
Eight Major Opportunities for Actors of Color?
ActorCEOs we seize every opportunity we can. Below is a shortlist of Diversity and Inclusion opportunities for actors in New York and LA. Yes, they jump-start careers. Lupita Nyong’o was spotted during an ABC Showcase but more importantly, they’re an opportunity to show up for your authentic artistic self… wherever you reside.
- NBC Universal Scene Showcase
- ABC/ Disney Diversity Casting Project
- CBS Comedy Showcase (your agent will have to submit you)
- UCB Diversity Scholarship (improv)
- Groundlings Diversity Scholarship (Improv)
- Impro Theatre Diversity Scholarship (Improv)
- Hollywood Bob Curry Fellowship (Improv)
- Hollywood Fringe Scholarship Program (theatrical production)
As for me… by college I’d become the token black character and spoiler alert, I wasn’t nearly as cool.
Hit up me on ActorCEOs Twitter about your take on artist diversity, why it’s important, and your stories as a POC in the biz.
RG is a New York-based actor and writer. Outspoken, gutsy, and living her own brutal truth. Before giving into her creative urges, she was a casting assistant and PA in LA and New York. RG’s performed with TMI Hollywood, a live weekly sketch comedy show and was a recurring character in the cult classic The Hunted: NYCSS. She’s been a leading actor in two short films and a universal swing in the Off-Broadway revival of Columbinus. RG is currently putting in her #10000hours at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.