'The Baby-Sitters Club' Reboot: Netflix dramedy champions diversity with a Black Mary Anne and Latina Dawn
By taking a classic series and pushing it out as a version that caters to modern insecurities and social causes, we have to say that Netflix nailed it
Spoilers for 'The Baby-Sitters Club' Season 1
When the cast of Netflix's reboot of the '90s classic 'The Baby-Sitters' Club was announced, people were delighted to know that Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez) was now Latina and Mary Anne Spier (Malia Baker) was a mixed-race Black girl in the series. This was an interestingly relevant development as the world is currently fighting for racial equality amid the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Diversity in shows that bring morals and lessons to life is a huge need right now, as some are struggling to accept people of color. This is a wholesome series, with innocence curtaining so many deep-rooted themes, and these two characters, who also helped shape many young minds in the '90s, now relate even more to people watching them. After all, every kid deserves to see someone who looks like them on TV.
Dawn, the free-spirited California gal, was no longer blonde haired or blue-eyed but rather a Latina character. "[I’m most excited] for my character — she's Latina. It's wonderful that they included a Hispanic family in the story and it's a great way to reflect how diverse our culture has become, and it's just an honor to like represent Dawn," Gomez told Seventeen. Dawn quickly becomes friends with Mary Anne, who is a mixed-race Black girl with an overprotective widowed father. "I was really happy that they made Mary Anne a Black character because I didn't have many to look up to when I was growing up," Baker says. "I was really excited that even if I didn't book it, that people would have that role model," Baker told ET.
Both young women were given an episode where viewers see them bond with an openness to fresh perspectives, as Dawn explains to Mary Anne how Bailey feels as a transgender little girl. While both characters add to the already diverse cast, we think it's more important to notice how their presence can affect the idea of acceptance in many young minds, who are taught to see differences in race at a very young age. "I think they did a really good replica in the books, except they made this Mary-Anne Black. This group is much more diverse and I’m loving it. They have made it really good with this contemporary take on it," Baker told Metro. In these times for these generations, it's the simplicity of seeing people like them in powerful roles that can bring amount a determination for change. This is a "children series," people would say, but the modern take does tackle diversity to a respectable extent. From Dawn's chirpy attitude and Mary Anne's character growth, there is nothing about these characters that don't scream excellence.
Representation is a big deal and it should be given the right amount of attention. By taking a classic series, and pushing it out as a version that caters to modern insecurities and social causes, we have to say Netflix nailed it. These characters are still iconic, with personalities that bring about a deep-rooted influence that many so badly need. Dawn as a Latina and Mary Anne as a Black character is one in many ways that we can see progress towards the representation of all races in the industry. It heeds more of a touching response when people are able to relate to their culture and race on TV.
All episodes of 'The Baby-Sitters Club' Season 1 are now available to stream on Netflix.