Stars From AMC, IFC & BBCAmerica & SundanceTV Gathered For Day Long Symposium On The Future Of Television
Stars from popular shows like “Fear The Walking Dead,” “Sherman’s Showcase” and “Brockmire” spoke out about why it’s critical for Hollywood to continue to tell stories from diverse perspectives.
The people behind the AMC Network’s slate of shows were in NYC this week for the AMC Network Summit, where they grappled with questions like “Who Gets To Tell The Stories in Hollywood?” in several panel discussions.
The day-long convening at the Public Arts Hotel April 8 featured appearances by actress Sandra Oh of “Killing Eve,” Coleman Domingo of “Fear The Walking Dead,” “Star Trek’s” George Takei.
Domingo, who also starred in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” said that box office blockbusters like “Black Panther” were successful because of their black casts and cultural references – and not in spite of them.
“We all look back at Black Panther, which was epic – incredible storytelling, incredible heart, detailed, and human. And I think that’s why everyone responded to it in kind. To be that specific. I love how specific it was. Specifically very African-American, and very African as well. To trust that those stories are relatable to people of very different hues and backgrounds – because they’re just human stories.”
For actress and comedian Tawny Newsome, of IFC’s “Brockmire,” television today has a level of inclusivity in it that means viewers from diverse backgrounds can finally see themselves on screen.
“Now is finally the time when people like me are being talked about in terms that we use for ourselves, and we’re saying ‘Hey, I’m a disabled person,’ or ‘Hey I’m a Queer person,’ and these are the ways I like to talk about myself, and the ways I like to tell my story…It’s wild to see that half of the industry thinks of it as a time of censorship where I’m like ‘oh this is finally a time when I have space.’”
And the star of IFC’s sketch comedy show “Sherman’s Showcase” Bashir Salahuddin said the need for diversity extends to behind the camera as well, and show writers need to have different perspectives.
“You want to have a sense that the people [the writer’s room] are representing the people you’re talking about and are saying ‘we can make fun of ourselves about this,’” Salahuddin said. “It’s an immediate filter to make sure you’re making the right decisions and you’re not sitting here in a room full of people, making fun of another group of people who aren’t represented in that room.’”