Fans of The Bold Type love the show for the way it shows real-life issues of three women who work at a magazine in New York City. It’s known as a “woke” show which makes star Aisha Dee’s account of the lack of diversity behind-the-scenes all the more problematic. While aspects of the magazine world are less-than-accurate for sure, the honest takes on everything from breast cancer to yeast infections have made the show especially popular. It takes on race, too.
“Over the course of four seasons, we’ve had conversations about workplace politics, white privilege, women’s health, gun ownership,” wrote Dee on Instagram. “And while not every story is perfect, life rarely is. And I’m proud to be part of something that has inspired, pushed boundaries, subverted expectations and started conversations.” But Dee isn’t able to keep quiet anymore. She channeled her badass character Kat to speak out on what she sees as issues on her show. “What would Kat do? She would take a stand and advocate for herself and all other marginalized voices to influence change,” she writes.
Dee points out that the diversity we all see on the show is not reflected in the creative team behind the camera. According to her post, it took two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writer’s room. In four seasons, they’ve had one Black director for an episode. She tells a story of growing up in Australia in the 1990s and feeling like an outcast for her hair and the color of her skin. Then she lands a show like The Bold Type, and it takes them three seasons to get someone in the hair department who knows how to work with textured hair.
“I want to make sure no one else ever has to walk onto a set and feel as though their hair is a burden,” she writes.
Dee goes on to explain how she sees the white heterosexual characters on the show portrayed with nuance and complexity, while the queer and POC stories are not and this comes from not having the writers in the room who can tell these stories. “This is not a judgment,” she says. “It’s a call to action.” Dee cares about the show and the fans and is “having conversations” with Freeform and Universal TV. She sees hope in the fact that the presidents of both of these companies are now Black women.
Not surprisingly, Dee’s message has come with a ton of love and support, especially from her castmates Katie Stevens and Meghann Fahy, who both reposted her Instagram. “I stand by her through thick and thin and am so proud of the woman she is,” wrote Stevens. Because the more people who speak up, the more changes that can be made for future generations.
Update: “We applaud Aisha for raising her hand and starting conversations around these important issues. We look forward to continuing that dialogue and enacting positive change. Our goal on The Bold Type is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane and Sutton live in. Ee can only do that if we listen,” reads a statement from the producers of The Bold Type, Freeform and Universal Television provided to StyleCaster.
A rep from Freeform also noted that the show “has had queer women of color on staff, it took two seasons to have a bisexual woman of color. In season two, we had a lesbian woman of color, and in season 3 a bisexual woman of color. Additionally in season 4, the writers room consisted of 3 writers who identify as LGBTQ+, and 5 are POC. 8 out of the 10 writers are female.”