It was a sad running joke at one point that there could only be one black man on The Walking Dead at a time.
First there was Morgan Jones (Lennie James), then when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) left him behind, we had T-Dog (IronE Singleton), who was never given much to do. Then when Oscar (Vincent Ward) looked like he was going to be allowed to live, T-Dog died. Then when Tyreese (Chad Coleman) showed up, Oscar died — leaving only the white prisoner of the original five alive (although not for long, sorry Axel).
Maybe the Season 4 changes were completely organic, but it seems like The Powers That Be heard the diversity complaints and took them seriously, adding more than just one black male or female character at a time.
Now we have Tyreese in center stage, along with Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.), who was actually an older white guy in the comics. Plus, Morgan is still out there, and set to reappear this season. We also have both Michonne (Danai Gurira), who is from the comic books, and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), who is not. In the comics, Tyreese had a daughter but not a sister. Now he has Sasha. (Let's hope she lives through this flu.)
Danai Gurira talked to The Daily Beast about TWD's racial politics, calling the complaints “hilarious." As she added, "If we literally lined this show up with other shows that are at this level of ratings, or near it, I mean come on. This show is actually the most diverse show, I think, right now. I don’t quite know what people are talking about. I’m like, ‘Huh?!’ I‘m very grateful for the cast I have. I’m looking around and I’m seeing Sonequa Martin-Green, I’m seeing Steven Yeun [Glenn], I’m seeing Lawrence Gilliard, I’m seeing Chad Coleman. Show me another show this diverse! I’m deeply confused by that concern.”
The concern is from previous years, when most of those people weren't around. The arguments aren't as valid now, and Danai told The Daily Beast the change is in keeping with the comic books.
“I think the beauty of it is that there is a great template for [the show] in what [Robert] Kirkman wrote,” she says. “His book is very diverse and so is what we’ve put onto the screen. Tyreese and Michonne are not in the first episode or in the first frame of the graphic novel. They’re much later on. It’s not something that was designed against anybody, it’s just natural to the fact that it was Rick Grimes’s story and it starts out with him looking for his family.”
Pretty soon, we should also see the addition of a new Latina character in Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), who was teamed up with Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) in the comics.
Do you think TWD deserves, or previously deserved, the diversity complaints? Vote below.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Source: The Daily Beast