As the country grapples with its many issues around race through protests, Riverdale actress Vanessa Morgan has spoken out about the way black people are portrayed in the media.
Specifically, Morgan, who joined The CW series in its second season, said she’s tired of black people “being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people.” She added, “Tired of also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show.”
Morgan plays Toni Topaz on the series based on the Archie Comics.
After someone commented that Morgan should get a higher salary, because she’s also part of an LGBTQ storyline, Morgan said she’s paid the least of the cast.
Lmao too bad I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least 😂👏🏽 girl i could go on for days 🐸— Vanessa Morgan (@VanessaMorgan) June 2, 2020
She called for people to leave her cast members alone, though, because they aren’t the ones to blame.
My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends. They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back. ♥️— Vanessa Morgan (@VanessaMorgan) June 2, 2020
Yahoo has reached out to The CW for comment.
A couple of Morgan’s fellow actors have already publicly supported her.
In fact, Asha Bromfield, who appeared on the show in 2017 and 2018, echoed Morgan’s concerns about the way black characters are treated. Bromfield disagreed with the amount of screen time given to Josie and the Pussycats, a fictional band that appeared in the show made up of women of color. She played Melody Valentine, who was a member. “We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to the storyline,” Bromfield tweeted.
Don't even get me started with how Riverdale treated the Pussycats. We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to a storyline. I stand with you @VanessaMorgan. https://t.co/IUMm9xaFYO— ASHA (@ashabrom) June 2, 2020
At one point, Morgan herself defended Ashleigh Williams, who played Josie, writing in part, “Maybe the show should write for her like the white characters.”
Lili Reinhart, the actress who plays Betty Cooper on Riverdale, said Tuesday that she’s there for Morgan.
We love you, V. And support you 10000%.— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) June 2, 2020
On Wednesday, Morgan tweeted directly to black fans as she said she’s now made it her purpose “to fight for us.” She vowed to “no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD.”
To my black fans, I have now made it my purpose to fight for us. To the six year old me who had no role model that looked like me on TV. This is for you. We aren’t your token black non dimensional characters. This is being black in Hollywood. I will fight for YOU 🖤 https://t.co/OgsB5ZjDjE— Vanessa Morgan (@VanessaMorgan) June 3, 2020
And I will no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD.— Vanessa Morgan (@VanessaMorgan) June 3, 2020
On Thursday, Riverdale creator, writer, and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said, in a statement on social media, that Morgan was right. He vowed to do better to honor her and her character and other people of color on the show. “Change is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it.”
[Editor’s note: This post was originally published June 2, 2020 at 5:45 p.m. PST.]
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