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Black Character Portrayals in Soaps Today


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While I'm guessing that there's been a thread or five about this in SON's history, I haven't seen one in recent memory (and no, I don't count the passing comments that been made in relation to other topics) so I'm starting this thread to continue the conversation that sprouted from the unfortunate news of Christel 'Don't Call Me Black' Khalil re-signing with Y&R instead of staying gone and (hopefully) allowing a Blacktress with talent to redeem the role of Drucilla Barber-Winters' daughter.

I'll start by reposting what I'd said in that thread, as it pretty much applies to every soap (existing or defunct) across the board ever since the end of the 90s:

I believe that we (and by that, I mean Black viewers such as myself) have a right to demand authentic portrayals of Black soap characters that aren't stereotypical or whitewashed. The fact that we had more of those 15-20 years ago than we do now is a major reason why the soaps are becoming extinct, as these writers refuse to put in the hard work (or hire those who are willing to) to properly write for (if they even bother to) Black characters and Valley Girl Lily is a symptom of their apathy/short-sightedness.

On another note, I'm sick of hearing of that 'talking white' argument being used as a rebuttal to the real criticism against the soaps (or TV/movies, for that matter). Frankly, it's a flimsy-assed excuse that only serves to distract from the fact that whitewashing doesn't have jack to do with being able to speak the King's English or being able to conduct oneself without falling prey to ratchet behavior. It has to do with being divorced/estranged from the rich fabric of Black culture and I'm tired of having to see that sh!t on my screen because non-Black people can't wrap their mind around a Black character that is equivalent (or, in some cases, superior) to non-Black characters in every way.

Oh, and while I'm well aware that this can also apply to Latino characters (since other races barely exist in soapland), this topic is specifically about Black character portrayals (or what passes for such) in soaps.

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I have to ask and not meaning to be insulting so don't take it that way. Would anyone have an issue if Marisa Ramirez, the actress who played Gia on GH were playing Lily. Because I've never read anyone having an issue with her playing a black character when she's not black.

Isn't the issue with CK is that her Lily isn't like Dru when at the end of the day, CK is just a very dull bland actress, regardless of her ethnic background.

I don't know, maybe I'm oversimplifying it. And my points were just in reference to Lily not as to the portrayal and casting of black actors and characters as a whole.

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I have to ask and not meaning to be insulting so don't take it that way. Would anyone have an issue if Marisa Ramirez, the actress who played Gia on GH were playing Lily. Because I've never read anyone having an issue with her playing a black character when she's not black.

Isn't the issue with CK is that her Lily isn't like Dru when at the end of the day, CK is just a very dull bland actress, regardless of her ethnic background.

I don't know, maybe I'm oversimplifying it. And my points were just in reference to Lily not as to the portrayal and casting of black actors and characters as a whole.

There's only one Dru, so we are going to have to go with Door #2. Bland and mediocre!

MR was a good fit for Gia on GH, but I'm not sure why they didn't go for a black actress. Zoe Saldana is the representation for black women in hollyood? Bogus!

p.s. I simply loathe CK is a huge reason that she will never work at a Winters for me.

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I have to ask and not meaning to be insulting so don't take it that way. Would anyone have an issue if Marisa Ramirez, the actress who played Gia on GH were playing Lily. Because I've never read anyone having an issue with her playing a black character when she's not black.

Isn't the issue with CK is that her Lily isn't like Dru when at the end of the day, CK is just a very dull bland actress, regardless of her ethnic background.

I don't know, maybe I'm oversimplifying it. And my points were just in reference to Lily not as to the portrayal and casting of black actors and characters as a whole.

At least she's ethnic and knew how to play the role. She probably does have african heritage way down her line, alot of hispanics do and alot of mexican's don't know that they do. But I did read a small few upset with MR playing a black character but that was in the crappy recast of Gia days.

CK's doesn't really play someone black and she doesn't play someone Pakistani. She plays a white girl with a tan. And a lifeless one at that. She has no fire whatsoever, no personality,no distinction. It's like why should I care about Lily despite her crappy stories? And yes that valley accent annoys me I don't care how many black girls have it in real life. That valley accent annoys me and makes my ears ring on everyone; black, white, hispanic, asian, etc!

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In 2012.

Precisely.

I have to ask and not meaning to be insulting so don't take it that way. Would anyone have an issue if Marisa Ramirez, the actress who played Gia on GH were playing Lily. Because I've never read anyone having an issue with her playing a black character when she's not black.

Isn't the issue with CK is that her Lily isn't like Dru when at the end of the day, CK is just a very dull bland actress, regardless of her ethnic background.

I don't know, maybe I'm oversimplifying it. And my points were just in reference to Lily not as to the portrayal and casting of black actors and characters as a whole.

I'll be honest - as much as I did enjoy her Gia, I, too, had issues with a Mexican American playing an African American character - namely, that the casting director could've easily found a Blacktress with the same amount of charisma and talent that Marisa Ramirez had.

In relation to Christel 'I'd Die Before I'd Check Black on a Census Form' Khalil, my not being able to stomach her is due to the one-two-three knockout punch of shiteousness that is her self-hating tragic mulatta (or is it quadroon or octoroon) issues along with her inability to act in any capacity and TIIC/the soap world's insistence of promoting her as a young lead heroine at a level of which that I haven't seen them do with any Black female character in the last 15 years*.

In turn, I can be flexible (somewhat) when it comes to Black characters on soaps as long as they bring something (whether it'd be charisma, talent, and/or authenticity) to the table. Since CK doesn't and has never brought either of those to the role of Drucilla's daughter, it is why I've never been able to embrace her as any kind of soap heroine (especially that of the daughter of a legendary and beloved character), actress, or person (yes, I said it).

*yes, I know Drucilla was on the show until about 6 years ago, but she'd aged into a grown woman role by then.

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Actually, Zoe, too, is the product of two Black parents (albeit a fair-skinned/biracial mother), as she's always described herself as a Black Latina. The delusion kicks in when she states that she doesn't (nor should anyone) complain about the dearth of Black roles in Hollywood because President Obama is in office.

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Actually, Zoe, too, is the product of two Black parents (albeit a fair-skinned/biracial mother), as she's always described herself as a Black Latina. The delusion kicks in when she states that she doesn't (nor should anyone) complain about the dearth of Black roles in Hollywood because President Obama is in office.

I could be wrong, but isn't Z Dominican and Puerto Rican?

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