The Bold Type star Aisha Dee is calling out creators of the Freeform show for a lack of diversity on set that she claims makes the show’s storylines less impactful.
“For a show that frequently uses words like intersectionality, inclusion, discourse, and the various ism’s, I wonder how its stories may have been elevated had they been told through the lens of people with a more varied lived experience,” she shared on Instagram.
The 26-year-old actress shared her thoughts by posting a letter addressing her upbringing as a biracial girl in a mostly white, conservative area in Australia. Despite feeling like “an outcast,” Dee wrote about how art — including television and movies — was where she found characters that represented her. Becoming one of those characters when she joined The Bold Type as Kat Edison in 2017 made her feel empowered. Still, she shares that there’s more work to be done when cultivating inclusivity and diversity on set.
“The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera,” she wrote before pointing to specific instances and durations of time that the writing team lacked both BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) and those who identified as queer. “It took three seasons to get someone in the hair department who knew how to work with textured hair,” she also claimed.
As a result of that lack of diversity to directly reflect the show’s storylines, Dee claimed that the narratives may fall flat. “The level of care, nuance, and development that has gone into the stories centering white hetero characters is inconsistent with the stories centering queer characters and POC,” she wrote. “I do not believe this is intentional. We cannot bring specificity and honesty to experiences we have not lived.”
The actress made sure to acknowledge her own privilege as “a light skinned, cis woman, who grew up around a lot of white people.” She also addressed that her criticism comes from her care for the show and its potential impact, which is why she’s had conversations directly with writers, producers and executives at Freeform and Universal TV about her concerns.
In turn, the producers of The Bold Type, Freeform and Universal Television provided Yahoo Entertainment with the following statement:
“We applaud Aisha for raising her hand and starting conversations around these important issues. We look forward to continuing that dialogue and enacting positive change. Our goal on ‘The Bold Type’ is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane and Sutton live in — we can only do that if we listen.”
Dee concluded her letter by acknowledging the risk that she’s taken by speaking out, but affirming that it is worth it.
“This is not judgment. This is a call to action,” she wrote. “We deserve to see stories that are for us, by us.”
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