Diverse TV Shows: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing and producing television shows that include diversity. This is part two of the ongoing series, you can read part one here, part two

If you keep up with Netflix you should know that ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ is now available with its second season. The point of this ongoing series is to examine and analyze the diversity in which we are offered in television shows.

In part one of this series I spoke about why there’s a lack of diversity within television networks and the shows they produce. Netflix has recently became more successful by creating, producing, and streaming their own original series. One of those original series being ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Most of these original series I have realized actually tackle many stereotypes and social justice issues even if it’s in a positive or negative light. I always found it interesting as to why shows like these aren’t on actual television networks.

In this second season of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidth,’ we see a lot of issues involving race. Of course as to why a white actress was cast to play a Native American woman? In the first season she was hiding from her ethnicity and was portraying herself as a typical caucausian housewife, but with this new season she has decided to embrace her culture. Yes, it is refreshing to see this type of controversy involving race but at the same time why couldn’t they actually cast an actress that was not white in the first place? This is the lack of diversity that I mean to talk about.

In part one of this series I used a quote from Wilmer Valederrama’s interview in which he said, “I think [networks’] intentions are in the right place, to try and develop as much diversity as possible, but unfortunately I think a lot of networks lack a bit of that mojo, that courage to actually give those shows a real shot and allow audiences to really find themselves within the leading stories and the leading characters.” The white actress portraying a Native American women is a great example of what Wilmer was saying.

A lot of television shows and even movies are really trying to include diversity in their work but most of the time they don’t get it right. That’s why people still get mad, and they have the right to. Another example, Zoe Saldana, who is a Latina and was cast to portray Nina Simone an African American women. My question is, why can’t they cast actors who would more easily fit the mold of the character they’ll be playing? Instead of getting an actor who is going to have to change their appearance to fit the role?