'The Bold Type' Star Aisha Dee Calls for More Diversity Behind the Camera
By Zach Seemayer
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage
Aisha Dee is speaking out and calling for change when it comes to what she sees as a lack of diversity on her show The Bold Type. The actress took to Instagram Wednesday night where she shared a lengthy message detailing her concerns with everything from representation in the writer's room to her own character's development and story lines.
Dee, 26, plays Kat Edison on the Freeform dramedy, an editor for Scarlet Magazine. Dee described her character as "unapologetic, outspoken, brave, the woman I always wished I could be," and expressed her appreciation for the show and its impact, sharing, "I'm proud to be a part of something that has inspired, pushed boundaries, subverted expectations, and started conversations."
However, Dee said that she'd decided to speak her mind after long holding her tongue out of concern for the ramifications of candor. However, she said she was inspired by her character to finally address her issues publicly.
"I'm ready to take a cue from my girl Kat. What would Kat do? She would take a stand and advocate for herself and all other marginalized voices to influence change," Dee wrote." I am ready to push harder and speak louder for what matters to me: The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera."
Dee wrote that it took "two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writers’ room for The Bold Type. And even then, the responsibility to speak for the entire Black experience cannot and should not fall on one person."
"We got to tell a story about a queer Black woman and a lesbian Muslim woman falling in love, but there have never been any queer Black or Muslim writers in the room," she wrote, referring to Kat's romance with Adena El-Amin (played by Nikohl Boosheri). "In four seasons (48 episodes) we’ve had one Black woman direct two episodes."
Dee added that it took until season three for the show to hire "someone in the hair department who knew how to work with textured hair."
"In Season Two, Kat is promoted to be the first Black female head of department at Scarlet Magazine," she added. "We've never had a Black female head of department on the set of The Bold Type."
Dee also said that she feels more attention and care was paid to the story lines of the show's "white, hetero characters" than to those of the show's "queer characters and POC."
"I do not believe this to be intentional," she explained. "We cannot bring specificity and honesty to experiences we have not lived."
Dee also critisized her character's most recent romantic partner -- a white, conservative woman whom she begins dating during season four.
“The decision to have Kat enter into a relationship with a privileged conservative woman felt confusing and out of character," Dee wrote. "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."
"It was heartbreaking to watch Kat’s story turn into a redemption story for someone else," she continued. "Some who is complicit in the oppression of so many. Someone whose politics are actively harmful to her communities."
Dee stressed that she's "critical because I care. Because I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact of this show, and I believe in its potential to be better."
"The Bold Type has done so much good, but it struggles to understand the intersections many of its characters live in," she wrote. "For a show that frequently uses words like intersectionality, inclusion, discourse, and the various isms, I wonder how its stories may have been elevated had they been told through the lens of people with a more varied lived experience."