Diversity: To the whitewashed, mega-conservative übermensch of modern-day, the very word goes to seems into the brain like red kryptonite, depleting one’s functionality like spider venom. But there’s an elephant in the room. Last year, the Screen Actors Guild found that the percentage of black film and television roles had reduced from a menial 14.8 percent in 2007 to staggering13.3 percent the 2008. It unanimous: Hollywood still has a problem in the age of the Obama Administration.
A lot of the criticisms have been of NBC in particular, who will air Undercovers—a tongue and cheek espionage thriller—with a African-American man and a black Britannia woman as the sitcom’s protagonists. Even U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., claimed the network tried to bribe her with gifts and other material items in an effort to bat an eye at the autocracies in a House of Representatives committee meeting amidst the 111th Congress. This is echoed by a 2008 report conducted by the NAACP that noted a plunge in black actors on the TV primetime circuit by three of the four powerhouse studio networks between the 2003-04 broadcast seasons to the 2006-07 broadcast seasons.
J.J. Abrams, renowned for his recent reboot of the Star Trek franchise directed the spy drama pilot that has talking heads raving and the pen-toting National Association of Black Journalists critique happy. With competitors NCIS, CSI, Law & Order and every other high profile machine gun legal dramas making headlines, this show lands a collateral sucker punch every time. We’re sure to see brilliance with this show.
Starring Soul Food actor Boris Kodjoe and Shakespearean starlet Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Undercovers premiers debuts Wednesday, September 22 on NBC.