Diverse TV Shows: Actor Idris Elba

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media, Social Justice

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing, producing, even acknowledging diversity in their networks. This is the final part of an ongoing series. You may read part 1, part 2, and part 3

For the final part of this research I would like to leave you with a powerful speech that actor Idris Elba made about diversity in TV. I’d rather not share my thoughts on the final part of this series because I want this video to speak for itself and be the conclusion and answer to why there’s a lack of diversity not only in Hollywood movies but also TV. I hope that my past posts have given you something to ask and think about. 


Diverse TV Shows Are Going Nowhere

Black Cool, Diversity in the Media

There is a huge absence of TV networks developing and producing television shows that include diversity. Wilmer Valederrama currently did an interview with HuffingtonPost and says that “networks lack the ‘courage’ to give diverse series a real shot.

In the past we have seen a lot of television shows come and go, usually lasting up to one or two seasons and suddenly being cancelled due to ratings and lack of audience. If you look at most of these shows you wouldn’t have a hard time noticing that it lacks diversity.

“I think television has become a lot more ambitious when it comes to conceptualizing a show — the tones, the universes, the characters, the premises, the stories, but I also have to admit that as much as they’re developing a lot of these pilots and as much as they’re developing a lot of vehicles for Latinos and African Americans, we’ve yet to see how many networks and how many studios are really willing to pick up these shows to series, and really get behind those shows and truly help them become a success,” Valderrama told HuffPost.

Although there is a visible gap between television shows and diversity, there are still current TV shows that have found success and have been breaking that mold by having people, stories, and problems in the show that include diversity. For examples, there’s Orange is the New Black, Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Power, Black-Ish, The Fosters, Becoming Us, Girl Code, Key and Peele and so much more.

Yes, these shows are diverse but why did it take this long for these type of television shows to become successful? I really agree with a point that Wilmer made in his interview, 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 absence of diversity is not just in television shows, it’s in movies, magazines, commercials, and so on. Up to this day you can pick up a magazine that has a black celebrity on the cover and there’s a pretty good chance that the black celebrity is only either the second, third, or fourth black celebrity to be featured on the cover of that magazine.

This is part three of an ongoing series, read part one and part two.