We are absolutely desperate for some new stories with new perspectives, aren't we?
That's the take away one would get from the responses to a recent casting announcement.
Earlier this week, Deadline announced that Ronny Chieng and Susan Wokoma were cast in a CBS comedy pilot called Super Simple Love Story.
Chieng is a Chinese-Malaysian-Australian comedian on The Daily Show and Wokoma is a British actor of Nigerian descent.
‘Super Simple Love Story’: Ronny Chieng & Susan Wokoma Cast In CBS Comedy Pilot https://t.co/otuxtc3XIE https://t.co/5fv5rjpdOJ— Deadline Hollywood (@Deadline Hollywood)1553816073.0
This sounds like a great, multiracial comedy, right?
Except they aren't the leads.
They're the best friends of the two leads, who are both white.
@DEADLINE I thought they were the couple. I'd much rather watch that show— Kendra (@Kendra)1553956084.0
Too bad they are not the couple, but the ethnic friends of the main white leads. https://t.co/fi9RoWPpo9— Nancy Wang Yuen (@Nancy Wang Yuen)1553943249.0
I waa so excited to watch this because I really thought they were cast as the leads but they're of course they're p… https://t.co/17sFsdPH2x— Dana (store name) (@Dana (store name))1554014761.0
I was really hoping they were the couple 😒 in this 'super simple love story'...because if its them, the title would… https://t.co/avNOQgWIOQ— IG: LWAZIGULE (@IG: LWAZIGULE)1554007277.0
On Twitter, people were frustrated with the announcement, and with Deadline's tweet.
The headline chosen didn't specify in what capacity Wokoma and Chieng were cast, and the wording made it easy to mistake them for leads.
By no means does this diminish the work the two have done. And I'm sure Super Simple Love Story will be great with them involved.
However, it's growing tiring seeing people of color cast as the "best friend" or "wise mentor" or whatever supporting role the story has for the white lead.
Balancing being excited for Chieng and Wokoma and other POC having more roles and being frustrated at recurring problems in media is a tightrope to walk.
@DEADLINE This was hella misleading and y’all know it.— Lena Waithe's Side Part🇬🇭 (@Lena Waithe's Side Part🇬🇭)1554008974.0
@ong_going Still going to watch and support them, but Hollywood needs to know that audiences are tired of the marginalization of PoC.— Nancy Wang Yuen (@Nancy Wang Yuen)1553956080.0
The headline is definitely misleading..but, the situation is the same. Most shows are white leading with a Black or… https://t.co/m7n8g5OnMJ— LaSanya Rucker (@LaSanya Rucker)1554011933.0
Womp womp- everyone wants these 2 to be the couple- not the "friends of the white people leads" :( https://t.co/RvdhRCkts7— Bitch Pack (@Bitch Pack)1553917871.0
This would be such a dope show if they were leads. Interracial couple black woman chinese man. The content and conv… https://t.co/NPbXrPlIsP— thornbackiana (@thornbackiana)1554059745.0
The talk about this show has spilled over into other discussions about color-conscious casting.
The recent movie Mary Queen of Scots had a very diverse cast, with Gemma Chan, Adrian Derrick-Palmer and Ismael Cruz-Cordova (all people of color) playing roles that might normally have gone to white actors.
The Hulu series Shrill has also come up, with criticisms and defenses abounding. While some point out the show is still ostensibly about a white woman, Lolly Adefope's POC character Fran is very fleshed out and not there solely as a support for the white character.
Overall, the ideas and effects race has on casting is a discussion we need to have, with a focus on empathy.
idk, watched one episode of shrill and it kind of felt dated. besides the too-hetereo-centric vibe, the queer black… https://t.co/r7Efbq47bv— meatier shower (@meatier shower)1552932011.0
@DEADLINE I've already seen this show. It's called "Every TV Show Ever Made." *yawn*— Zev Good (@Zev Good)1554033044.0
Maybe we were holding our breaths a little too long, but is it so wrong to hope that new voices will be telling our stories?