One of Netflix’s highest rated shows, Bridgerton is all fans are talking about these days. What people love most about the Shonda Rhimes’ produced series is how diverse the cast is, which would typically be unusual for a period piece like Bridgerton. Netflix’s Vice President of inclusion strategy, Verna Myers, said the show’s racially diverse cast was the result of an ‘inclusion lens’ being considered when making significant casting decisions.
Myers said the company assisted lead producers, show runners for the series and its’ executive producer, Rhymes, with ensuring the show was diverse both onscreen and behind the lens.
The streaming executive told The Guardian, “We’ve got to get folks in front of the camera and behind the camera. When that happens you’re going to get something you’ve never seen before. Bridgerton is something we have never seen before.’
The romantic drama set in Regency London reimagines the period as one where Black and White people were equal. A rare occurrence in television and film, and both Netflix and Rhimes were willing to take that massive risk on Bridgerton. Apparently, it was a risk worth taking as the show continues to trend across platforms for its’ beautiful costuming, diverse cast, and daring plot points.
“We help out all of our creative folks in content and marketing with what we call an inclusion lens, when they’re casting and when they’re green lighting: see who’s there, see who isn’t,” Myers continued in her interview with The Guardian.
The streaming platform’s inclusion lens ensures that more representation is made within major network and streaming shows.
Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan shared her thoughts on those who have criticized the show for its divers casting. The 33 year old actress flaunted the success of the risqué period drama in a slew of tweets highlighting its’ audiences’ obvious acceptance of the show and cast despite some people’s negative criticism.
Coughlan tweeted, “You know the way some people were like ‘Diversity in period drama doesn’t work… 63 million households thought it did tho so.” She seemingly mocks the show’s critics by adding a skull emoji.
Verna Myers said to The Guardian that the historical lack of Black employees in technology and entertainment is a trend amongst the industry and Netflix is working to emphasis the recruitment of Black employees.
She adds, “We had a special person to think about recruitment, specifically for underrepresented groups, and we started with people of color, and we really emphasized Black.”
Myers includes that the issue is not only Netflix’s problem, but a “function of the industry.” The VP believes companies should follow up the talks of diversity with action such as her company’s new $350,000 investment scheme to help develop black creative talent.
Since the increasing protests last year raising awareness on issues within the Black community, companies began releasing statements with claims to diversify. Ms Myers said she believes it has opened peoples eyes to a ‘social hierarchy’ that exists in the world. However, Netflix and their executive team are taking actionable steps in creating diversity and inclusion.
Bridgerton is Netflix’s fifth biggest original release. The perfect example of how representation is needed amongst the technology and entertainment industries. Today, the show reaches number one in the United States. It’s simply what the people want.