As support for Black Lives Matter deepens, Vanessa Morgan is speaking up about the injustices she’s faced in the television industry. The Riverdale star, who plays Toni Topaz on the hit CW series, tweeted about Black characters coming second to white leads and more.
“Tired of how Black people are portrayed in Media,” she began. “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. It starts with the media. I’m not being [quiet] anymore.”
When a fan chimed in with comments about producers taking advantage of her, she confirmed she was talking about Riverdale and also said she’s paid the least as the only Black series regular currently on the show. “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,” @oneofthosefaces pointed out, to which Vanessa responded… “Lmao too bad I’m the only black series regular but also paid the least… girl i could go on for days.”
Vanessa went on to defend former Riverdale actress Ashleigh Murray after a troll called her a diva and blamed her for Vanessa’s ongoing issues.
“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,” Vanessa insisted.
Vanessa has committed her life to fighting for equal on-screen representation, as she went on to tweet: “To my black fans, I have now made it my purpose to fight for us. To the six year old me who had no role model that looked like me on TV. This is for you. We aren’t your token black non dimensional characters. This is being black in Hollywood. I will fight for YOU.” “And I will no longer take roles that don’t properly represent us. PERIOD,” she added.
UPDATE: June 5, 2020 | 11:30am EST
Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has responded to Vanessa Morgan’s statements in an Instagram post. “We hear Vanessa. We love Vanessa. She’s right,” he wrote. “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 @BLMLA, but we know where the work must happen for us. In the writers’ room.” See his post below.