Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan spoke about Black Lives Matter and the portrayal of black community in the media.
Vanessa Morgan, who plays the character of Toni Topaz in Riverdale, recently spoke in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She pointed out how portrayal of African-Americans are always as the sidekicks of the white character.
‘I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least’
She posted a brief statement on Twitter that read,
“Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people. Tired of us also being used as sidekick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show.”
She captioned the note with “I’m not being Quite anymore #BlackLivesMatter.”
Initially, Vanessa didn’t name drop her show when she came forward with her frustrations of problematic and inaccurate representation of black people on television.
However, Vanessa made it clear that she was talking about Riverdale after @oneofthosefaces tweeted at her; “imagine they’re getting so much more bang for their buck bc ur part of an lgbt storyline too, double the diversity – DOUBLE UR PAYCHECK IMO.”
She responded with “Lmao too bad I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least… girl i could go on for days.”
She continued the thread in another tweet writing: “My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends. They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots & I know they have my back,” she tweeted on June 2.
A day later, she posted on Twitter, “And I will no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD.”
After sharing her tweet, Morgan’s Riverdale co-star Lili Reinhart showed her support. “We love you, V. And support you 10000%,” Reinhart responded.
Vanessa had joined Riverdale as a recurring character in season 2, she went on to be a regular by the third season. She became the only black series regular after Ashleigh Murray in CW’s Katy Keene.
Morgan’s fans rallied on Twitter, getting #hearvanessamorgan to trend on Thursday. In response to the public outcry, Aguirre-Sacasa posted the following message to his social media accounts on Thursday night:
Roberto responded to Morgan’s claims on Instagram and wrote that she was right and they were sorry. He promised Morgan and her fans that they will do better to honor her. He wrote:
“We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She’s right. We’re sorry and we make the same promise to you that we did to her. We will do better to honor her and the character she plays. As well as all of our actors and characters of color. CHANGE is happening and will continue to happen. Riverdale will get bigger, not smaller. Riverdale will be part of the movement, not outside it. All of the Riverdale writers made a donation to [Black Lives Matter], but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room.”
The executive producer further revealed that all the show’s writers have opened their purses. “All of the Riverdale writers made a donation to [Black Lives Matter Los Angeles], but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room,” he wrote, concluding the apology. Vanessa appeared to accept the apology, because she retweeted his pledge.
In the caption, Aguirre-Sacasa included three hashtags” “#hearvanessamorgan,” “#blmla,” and “#riverdale.”
The post got more than 60,000 likes, and over 1,200 Instagram users have commented on it. In the comments section, some fans praised Aguirre-Sacasa’s statement.
“I’m proud of you Roberto and the other people that make this show possible. And I’m really happy that she spoke up,” one fan wrote.
Another person felt that Riverdale‘s writers should have addressed the lack of development of their black characters since Season 1
Riverdale filming has halted
Morgan joined Riverdale in its second season, her character soon becoming the love interest of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch).
Her comments came amid global Black Lives Matter anti-racism demonstrations following the death of black American George Floyd in police custody.
Riverdale filming has halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, with one member of the crew coming into contact with an individual treating positive for the disease. There is no information on when the production will start again.
Riverdale season 4 was cut short due to social-distancing measures without episodes for prom or graduation. Aguirre-Sacasa mentioned in an interview with EW that “prom would be a great season premiere next year.” “We’re essentially starting the season with the last three episodes of season 4, and partly because they’re dynamite episodes,” he said. “I mean big, big, big changes happen. We are continuing the mystery and the relationship drama straight into season 5.” Beyond that, we’ll see how the writer’s room adapts the show to this new vow.
This is the kind of change all shows could take notes from. This comes after the death of George Floyd by a police officer which started protests for Black Lives Matter.
Riverdale is available to stream on Netflix now.