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Niecy Nash Reminds Chelsea Handler That Diversity Goes Beyond “Black and White Women”

We’ve written about TNT’s Claws, which stars the incomparable Niecy Nash at the head of a diverse cast of nuanced female characters, has a black female showrunner, and was created, in part, by a woman of color. It’s certainly an example of progress. But, as Nash points out in a recent appearance on Netflix’s Chelsea, diversity goes beyond “black and white.”

On the most recent episode of Chelsea, Handler has Nash, along with writer/director Jill Soloway, and actress Kate Beckinsale on as guests. When the topic turns to diversity in storytelling and media, Nash revels in the progress, as you’ll see in the clip above. In it, she tells the story of her stand-in coming up to her and marveling at the fact that all these black and brown women were telling people what to do … and that a white costumer was on her knees putting on Nash’s shoes.

The story received a laugh and a bunch of applause, but Nash was quick to remind Handler (surrounded by white women on the couch, providing visual proof of how much further we have to go), that diversity is about more than just “black and white women.”

Further along in the interview, in a clip you can check out over at Jezebel, Nash says:

“The one thing that I will say is what I get all the time now is that because of Taraji [P. Henson] and Viola [Davis] and Kerry [Washington], ‘Things have changed. Now everything is okay.’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s not.’ That is progress, and I love seeing my black and brown sisters on TV—but there are so many other women in the world besides black and white women. Whose stories are not being told.”

Handler then asks her to elaborate, to which Nash responds, “Well, I mean Asian woman, Indian women, Muslim women. A lot of women!”

We could, of course, add to that list. Latinx women, queer women, trans women (all of whom have stories told on Claws), as well as disabled women, fat women, women with mental illness, and neuroatypical women. And, and, and…

It’s interesting that all of the black women that she sites as others’ examples of “progress” all have the careers they have now thanks to women and people of color in decision-making, creative positions. Just as Claws, boasts women of color as showrunners and EPs, Henson is currently receiving accolades for her meatiest lead role on Empire, which was co-created by a black, gay man. Davis and Washington are currently the biggest names over at Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, starring in shows produced by a black woman’s media empire.

So, it seems that diversity behind the scenes translates into diversity on-screen. You hear that production companies and studios? Hire more female and minority directors, writers, and producers, and the rest will follow. Simple, right?

(image: screencap/Netflix)

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