I saw this snippet earlier today from the Netflix account of the TV show Dear White People where show-runner Yvette Lee Bowser was speaking on how in the film and television industry you really have to hold firm to your beliefs. Or, in this particular case, the characters that you fight for.
Yvette speaks on how when she worked on the hit 90’s television show Living Single, the studio did not want her to include the character Maxine Shaw (who was played brilliantly by Erika Alexander) in the cast. According to the clip, the studio viewed the Maxine character as a little too “unapologetically black.” Yvette viewed this period as a defining moment in her career, but she was determined to keep Maxine Shaw in the show and the studio eventually approved it. The rest is history as they say. Without Maxine, Living Single is a very different show in retrospect.
Though some might view this and say, “well why all the fuss over one character?” The thing is, these aren’t just characters for a lot of people, they’re representations of who we are or who we simply aspire to be. The platform may be scripted, however the inspirational effect television and film can have on the psyche of people who rarely see themselves represented in such mediums, is often quite real. Much respect to Yvette Lee Bowser for pushing through and introducing the world to Maxine Shaw: Attorney at Law.