'The Bold Type' star Aisha Dee hits out at show's lack of diversity, calls romance with Ava 'out of character'
Taking cognizance of all the backlash, Aisha Dee has finally opened up about the representation on her show and has called it out asking it to really practice the things it teaches
Ever since Freeform's 'The Bold Type' hinted at a romance between its only Black lead Kat Edison, played by Aisha Dee, and a privileged white Republican Conservative (think Ivanka Trump, but gay), Ava Rose, it has been receiving a lot of flak. The once-celebrated show was practically torn apart by fans who held Kat's character dear and found the new plotline to do more injustice to her than anything else.
Taking cognizance of all the backlash, Dee has finally opened up about the representation on her show and has called it out asking it to "really practice the things The Bold Type teaches, by acknowledging mistakes and making commitments to be better in the future". The actress took to her Instagram to explain her feelings towards the new love interest on the show. "I'm critical because I care, because I've seen firsthand the incredible impact of this show, and I believe in its potential to be better," she wrote.
She added how the new relationship did not feel true to the character she plays on screen. "The decision to have Kat enter into a relationship with a privileged conservative woman felt confusing and out of character. Despite my personal feelings about the choice, I tried my best to tell the story with honesty, even though the Kat I know and love would never make these choices," she wrote, adding how "heartbreaking" it was. "It was heartbreaking to watch Kat's story turn into a redemption story for someone else, someone who is complicit in the oppression of so many. Someone who's politics are actively harmful to her communities."
What really ruined Kat's representation in this season is that she spent the last four seasons building up a reputation as a fighter for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Ava's (Alex Paxton-Beesley) father had literally funded conversion therapy. When she had outed him, Kat lost her job as the first Black social media director of Scarlet Magazine.
Her letter has pointed out to a dearth of representation behind the screen. "It took three seasons to get someone in the hair department who knew how to work with textured hair," and two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writer's room, "and even then, the responsibility to speak for the entire Black experience cannot and should not fall on one person".
In 10 slides, Aisha also opened about the discrimination she faced all her career. "I could list every microaggression and example of problematic behaviour I've encountered throughout my career, but I'm not writing this for sympathy or to incite anger - I'm writing this in the hopes that the people who come next don't have to experience the things I have."
"Over the last few weeks I've had conversations with the writers and producers, as well as the executives at Freeform and Universal TV," she continues. "I'm hopeful we will have the opportunity to tell more authentic stories by hiring, promoting, and listening to diverse voices across the entire production of The Bold Type and beyond. This is an opportunity to walk the walk, to really practice what The Bold Type teaches, by acknowledging mistakes and making commitments to be better in the future."
She concluded her letter saying, "Ths is not judgment. This is a call to action."
You can read her entire statement here.
'The Bold Type' is gearing up for the final episode of Season 4 'Not Far From The Tree' on Thursday, June 16, 2020, at 10 pm ET /PT on Freeform.