#diversityastrickbait

Previously

The Tragic Story of Peter and Marisa

Now that we've gotten on the subject of A-list POC being used as sidekicks and supporting actors to launch the careers of virtually unknown white actors, I think we should keep the discussion going.

Remember back when people cared about Spartacus?  One of the reasons most folks were drawn to the first season (all else sucked royally) was due to the fascinating and powerful presence of Peter Mensah as Oenameus the Doctore (teacher) of the gladiators.  Mensah was not A-list, but he was fit, he was tall, he was majestic and imposing.  His voice was deep and rumbling, and he was well-remembered from his brief appearance in 300 (which in turn inspired Spartacus).  The Doctore wielded a vicious whip, and thus literally whipped his gladiators into shape.  They feared his wrath; even Spartacus couldn't even bother to hope to escape the ludus (gladiator school) without finding some way around Doctore first.

That was Season One, and needless to say, Peter Mensah's portrayal caught the attention of a lot of press and POC worldwide, and he helped draw a viewership the show otherwise wouldn't have had.

Thus, relative newcomers like Andy Whitfield and Manu Bennett and others were also noticed, while semi-ignored thespians like Lucy Lawless and John Hannah were remembered after (very) long hiatuses from their most memorable works (1990s Xena and The Mummy films, respectively).

But then Andy Whitfield (RIP) was diagnosed with cancer, which delayed the production of Season 2, and instead prompting the network to film a prequel season, showing how Doctore became Doctore, and the patent lack of respect for his authority in the beginning stages, not to mention the infidelity of his white-washed wife with yet another virtually unknown white actor added to the series, Dustin Clare. It was like an Emasculation Trifecta - removing his authority as the dreaded Doctore, cuckholding him in his marriage, and the writers churning it out and nodding like this BS was the best thing since sliced bread.

Whitfield unfortunately succumbed to his cancer and died.  He was replaced in Season 3, where Mensah's character was relegated to the background and killed off at the end.  Luckily, the show's relevance slowly died as well (Season 4 came and went with no comment), but that was mainly because the white actor Whitfield died in real life.  Had he lived, he'd have finished out the show (which Mensah, though still alive, didn't even get to do) and Whitfield would've been cast in some big budget film by now, reasserting Alpha White Male dominance.

Now, let's move on to the reason why I stopped watching Suits.

I started watching Suits because a reader on one of these blogs informed me the legendary Gina Torres, Perfection Herself, was starring as Jessica Pearson, head of a wealthy and powerful law firm.  Despite being the best known person on the show, Torres, of course, was not the star.  Two lesser known white guys, Gabriel Macht and what's-his-name, portray the central protagonists, have top billing, and are primarily used in all the promotional material.

Once again, Season One is used as the bait.  It started the show off by depicting Jessica Pearson as being most definitely in charge.  Her name was on the building and all roads led back to her.  Everyone feared her wrath and coveted her favor; characters gushed at how beautiful (and ageless) she was.  Any defiance expressed towards her was extremely short-lived.

Not to mention, there wasn't a single episode where Torres didn't look utterly phenomenal.

Keep in mind, Gina Torres is only 44 years old; she's going to look like this for a while.  Her stylist right away recognized the gift they were given, and brought their A-game every time.  After quickly growing bored with the "storyline" on Suits, I found myself watching the show just to see what Torres would wear next and then try to screen cap it ASAP.

Now, the name on the building in Seasons One and Two was "Pearson Hardman."  No one mentioned Hardman until Season Two, when it was revealed he was corrupt, so Jessica and Harvey (her right arm/fixer portrayed by Gabriel Macht) blackmailed him into being a silent partner.  Of course, it only worked so long as his wife lived, but once she died, all bets were off.  As this new "storyline" unfolded, we're treated to flashbacks where Harvey first suspects Hardman is corrupt and for some reason, the writers thought it would be sheer genius to show Jessica passionately defending this man.

And it's not just the fact that she defends Hardman, or the fact that she was the "last to know", so to speak.  It's how she defends him.

Jessica asks Harvey how many Black women have their name on a building.  She goes on and on about how she was nothing before Hardman, how he made her into the success she became, how she owes him for taking a chance on her, blah blah bullshit.

In other words, though we were subtly (and at times, not-so-subtly) led to believe in Season One that the great Jessica Pearson was this Boss Chick built her own damn company from the ground up, the truth is, she was this helpless Negress who couldn't have done it without the help of some white man.  So not only is there the racist factor, but the sexist factor as well.  Seriously?  The writers must have flunked history.  Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a. Madame C.J. Walker, was a Black, buxom woman who was also the first female self-made millionaire in America.  She was born in friggin' 1867 and died in 1919.  You're telling me a Black woman had a better chance of becoming a self-made millionaire shortly after the fall of slavery than she does now in the 21st Century?  Seriously?  Are we really trying to spread that message now, Phil Robertson?

Comments

  1. All roads lead to some random white man didn't you know? I will not speak about the ugly storyline with Doctore. His wife should have been darker! And notice how they never showed him and his wife getting busy, but they loved to show her and Gannicus. White ppl really fear two black people getting it on, weirdos.

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    1. Actually, they did show Mensah and Ramirez getting busy, but it was post-Gannicus, I believe, in order to show how her husband could no longer satisfy her and how she just wasn't feeling as much as before.

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    2. When will they learn a part of the success is because they have people of color in significant roles? The demographics in this country are rapidly changing.The non-white population is almost 40 %. They expect whites will be under 50 % of the population by 2043. And yet the vast majority of leads are still white. This is part of the reason Sleepy Hollow is doing well - a diverse cast. How revolutionary...
      Spartacus was totally off my radar - will check out the first season.

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  2. I don't understand these shows that put POC in lead or prominent roles, the show becomes a hit and then they feel the need to whitewash it. Why even bother with doing it in the first place If white people can't stand something being successful with little or none of their involvement.

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    1. I don't understand these shows that put POC in lead or prominent roles, the show becomes a hit and then they feel the need to whitewash it.

      Sometimes, I don't think they expect these shows to become hits, and when they do, they want to convince themselves it has nothing to do with the presence of POC.

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  3. Same thing happened with The Walking Dead and one of the reasons I dropped off....I started watching because the 1st season had Black folk....even Asian and Latino folk....then they either killed them off or they drove off (the Latino family just drove off at the end of season 1st....wha dafuq?) Then there was the entire season with Black dude just chewing scenery in the background (again wha dafuq?)....he might as well have been part of the crew....he had no damn lines....for a whole season.....They have redeemed themselves with the addition of Michion and other characters from the graphic novel but still by then I was an infrequent viewer......I hate the bait and switch.....it is why I don't watch much scripted tv.

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    1. That'd why I stopped watching. They are in Atlanta and you're telling me they only found two black people and they're one black man quota was b.s..

      They should have used the story of Lee and Clementine like the Walking Dead video game. Now that one was a great story and made you feel invested.

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    2. I still refuse to bother with that show.

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  4. Was just on Pinterest looking up pics of the goddess and was about to rewatch Serenity when something told me to come check out Ankhesen's blog.

    The Goddess works in mysterious ways. Praise Gina/Jasmine


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  5. Neo-Prodigy1/12/14, 7:25 AM

    Spartacus is a tricky beast because one thing I will say to the shows credit, everyone (Gannicus, Spartacus, everyone) died at the end with the exception of the gay couple who rode off into the sunset. And even then, a black woman was the shows lead female protagonist which is virtually unprecedented.

    The show had its problems, yes, but personally (YMMV) the good outweighed the bad.

    Heroes, on the other hand or for that matter Revenge (the way this season is going) that's another story.

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  6. Did you forget that Lucy Lawless was in "Battlestar Galactica" (as D'Anna/Number Three) in 2005-2009? She didn't pop up in Spartacus out of the 90s abyss. John Hannah was definitely random though.

    Honestly, I don't think Andy Whitfield (RIP) would have been cast in a big budget film post Spartacus had he lived. Liam McIntyre so far has only managed to nab one role in the poorly received Hercules film, which is really just type casting as its a swords and sandals flick.

    It seems the only successful Spartacus alums so far are PoC: Manu Bennett, Cynthia Addai Robinson and Katrina Law. All the others have faded into obscurity just as quickly as they came.

    I never thought of the Gannicus love triangle storyline in that way, now I'm irritated. Especially since the Gannicus character is such a dudebro fan favorite.

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