Should Soaps Tell More Black Stories? Read our thoughts here --->>>
Photos: ABC, CBS, NBC
The question has been penned should soaps tell more Black stories? And the simple answer to that question would be an astounding YES! But why should they? That’s what I as a twenty-something white woman had to sit and think about.
I have always been an advocate for the idea that representation matters when it comes to entertainment...especially with soap operas. But as a young girl growing up in North Carolina where there were only a few Black kids in my school it didn’t feel different to only see a couple of Black characters on the soaps I watched. It didn’t feel wrong at the time. As I grew older I would be surrounded by a world filled with wonderful people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, disabilities, and cultures...but as my world expanded the life depicted on my favorite daytime programs didn’t.
I could just bring up the obvious issues with diverse storytelling on soap operas like how Black characters are often relegated to the supporting or background roles in most stories or how there have been amazing actors let go because the writers didn’t know how to write for their character...and to be completely honest that was my original plan. But after talking to a great friend she made me realize that I needed to put my own heart into this article. It’s not enough to just say equality matters. We have to connect to the message.
As a white woman will I ever fully understand the injustices that people of color face in this world including the lack of on-screen representation? Absolutely not. However, as a bisexual woman, I know how happy I was when The Young and the Restless’ Mariah came out. Seeing her character provided me with the comfort of seeing someone like myself on-screen. I got to watch her triumphs and struggles as I was dealing with my own. And that is an incredible experience that everyone watching deserves to have. As a life-long soap opera fan, I have always clung to characters that I see bits and pieces of me in. Whether that was the “big girl” or the shy girl. Thinking back I now realize that while I could often find characters that in ways mirrored me that wasn’t the case for many others.
The soap opera community is often referred to as a family and I want every single person watching to feel like they belong in that family. And to do that we need to start by having more Black representation, more Latinx representation, more Asian representation, more LGBTQ+ representation. Bring these characters to the forefront. Highlight their families, their drama, their love, and their culture. Tell their stories. We live in a big world full of beautiful people and that should be conveyed on our soaps.