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About That "Girls" Diversity Casting Matter... It Looks Like Donald Glover Is In

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 18, 2012 3:12 PM
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Well... there ya go. Just like that.

Not long after I posted the "diversity casting call" entry for Lena Dunham's Girls (HERE), this photo came across my virtual desk along with the notes stating that season 2 of Girls began shooting in Brooklyn this week, and guess who was photographed filming a scene with its star and creator?

None other than Donald Glover.

This is the first time I'm hearing of this. A search didn't reveal any official casting announcements, and I don't recall Glover tweeting about it, unless I just missed it.


What role exactly he's playing here isn't known. But I'm sure now that the news is out, someone will talk.

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  • eshowoman | May 20, 2012 9:03 PMReply

    I really do not want Lena Dunham writing a black female character. She has admitted that we are invisible in her world and all she will come up with a bunch of stereotypes. Glover is known for 30 Rock and Community (which I love) and his rap career has a large white following. He is seen as a safe Negro and will fit right in. If Lena Dunham had any sense she would let him into the writers room with his screenwriting work on 30 Rock and Mystery Gang, he is more experienced than she she is.

  • Fred | May 19, 2012 5:22 PMReply

    I do think that Tambay's post on the issue last week in regards to this really misguided and incorrect. It essentially influenced some people of color who read this blog to be ashamed of speaking out on Hollywood's flat out discrimination. Arguments like the ones I see below are terrible ("Where was this outrage towards Sex In the City or Entourage?") which are similar to the bad arguments that were made when blatant whitewashing was done on The Last Airbender movie. It seems that some who are saying that there is nothing wrong with "Girls" don't even really understand the issue at hand. The reason why the criticism on the lack of people of color on this show is correct is because it shows the gall of Hollywood to set a show in a place where the grand majority of people living in it are not white (Brooklyn is majority nonwhite as the last U.S. Census will tell you) but cast only whites as the main cast. The second point is the fact that the show was advertised as representing a generation. That is insulting. Why couldn't they have set the show in a place where the majority of people are white? This isn't something made up by white bloggers. People of color were at outraged at that kind of declaration of a show that takes place in a mostly nonwhite borough with a cast of only whites. This is a legitimate reason to protest and criticize. Now I am not saying that it is the answer to end all the problems as there should be action by those in the industry by those talents of color to change the industry itself but Tambay was wrong by suggesting people shouldn't protest stuff like this. Protest and criticism puts it on record that the shit is wrong and that needs to be expressed every time stuff like this happens. You want to make a show with only white girls and declare it the voice of a generation? Then don't set it in Brooklyn.

  • artbizzy | May 20, 2012 9:05 AM

    @Fred What I meant to also say was that shows like Friends and Sex and The City also helped to set the stage for this new demographic to exist in Brooklyn, essentially becoming the face of Brooklyn now and also what it wants to become. We can ask the real estate agents about that.

  • artbizzy | May 20, 2012 8:58 AM

    @Fred But Fred Brooklyn done changed. Especially the perception of Brooklyn due to the mainstream media's focus on young upper middle class white hipsters gentrifying the borough like there's no tomorrow. On one hand I think it is right to protest because we need our black actor's in NYC working. But on the other hand I believe that now it is possible to live in this new Brooklyn and not be around many black people at all or to have black friends. Lena has said she's speaking to her experience and I believe her. I think what she didn't realize is how that experience renders black people in a borough like Brooklyn invisible to her and continues to allow the gentrification of the borough to run unchecked thus driving out Black Brooklynites , immigrants of all colors who have been there a long time. Shows like Sex and The City and Friends set the stage for a show like this to exist. I think the best kind of protest in this case is to create more awareness of what gentrification is doing to the black community in Brooklyn, and in New York in general and how it is pushing out poor/working class blacks or diminishing their existence there and how TV continues to perpetuate this phenomenon by consciously or unconsciously ignoring it.

  • katie | May 20, 2012 8:26 AM

    Best comment. Thank you.

  • AccidentalVisitor | May 19, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    Nadine, you say that I don't have any idea what I'm talking about but you are the one going around claiming the whole controversy was the invention (plot) of white bloggers only. There's enough available evidence out there (ONLINE) to prove you are wrong on that front. Some black writers at prominent websites were amongst the first to draw attention to the diversity issues concerning the show. New York Magazine/The Vulture used those particular articles as the key, primary arguments for those who were dissastisfied with the show. The New York Times also caught wind of those pieces and decided to have seven or so other people weigh in (pro or con) for the casting choices and diversity in TV in general. So, no, it wasn't just the work of white bloggers that caused the controversy. White bloggers may have started it off (I can't say for sure) but it was those one or two articles written shortly thereafter by black writers that led to the media questioning the people behind the Girls show about their lack of people of color on the series. A couple of the folks associated with the show responded to THOSE articles directly. Also let me also point out that while you and your circle of friends may not have known about the series before the media firestorm, the two black female writers whom I mentioned in my original post were indeed looking forward to the show, hoping that the cast of women would be as racially diverse as the real-life Brooklyn that they know. Unlike you they were actually deeply disappointed, disappointed enough to write about and it speak their mind. I agree that they fell into a trap and that the outcry over the casting that followed was borderline absurd. But those women recognized the lives of those four protagonists and felt that the four leading ladies were similar to them in almost every respect except for race.

  • Nadine | May 19, 2012 9:25 PM

    Ummm...@AV...I was saying that I left my screen up and my colleague jokingly wrote that nonsense... u must know I'm waaay more long- winded than that!

  • Mark & Darla | May 18, 2012 10:33 PMReply

    Lena probably did this for spite, whole lot of people eating crow.

  • James Evans | May 18, 2012 9:14 PMReply

    I'm all for "nice personality" etc, but no offense, but as a black man, that chick in the picture above is probably the last white girl I'd talk to in the club....and I'd have to be really really really really really really really really really really really drunk.

  • AccidentalVisitor | May 18, 2012 8:47 PMReply

    So wait? The whole controversy was really the result of the devious work of insidious white people who blog for a living? For real? Get real. Look, I kept up with the issue even though I had no interest in the show and haven't watched a second of it. The cast was revealed to the media long before the show made its debut on HBO but for some reason the outcry only came about a week or two before the first episode hit the airwaves. What the fuck was that about? Regardless of the color of the people who were voicing their displeasure you would think they would have spoken up earlier. Regardless while there were those liberal white folks who objected to the show's lack of non-white faces, let us not be revisionist by claiming it was all the work of white bloggers. That would be scapegoating. There were attention-grabbing writeups by black women from Jezebel and The Daily Beast that were responsible for much of the kickoff of the whole controversy. I believe a black male write for The Atlantic dipped a toe into the muddled river as well. And popular culture websites such as Racialicious also made a point of giving an opinion or two on the subkect, although I can't confirm if the writer for the Racialicious pieces was black. Did most black people know of this Girls show before the debate broke out? No. But then again most people of all races didn't know either. So that is besides the point. The sad reality is that many black folks got caught up in another debate about the lack of black people on a TV show/movie and as a result came across as whining. It's not that the points that were being made were lacking in legitmacy, rather it was about how and why the critcisms were being leveled in the first place. The negative, reflexive responses came across as further examples of black people getting out of joint about not being represented and telling a writer/producer/executive who they must include in their series. I doubt anyone was buying when some of the most vocal black critics were remembering from time to time to use the words "people of color" rather than say "black people". I'm pretty sure everyone knew those folks weren't truly arguing for the inclusion of someone from Pakistan or an American of Vietnamese ancestry. No, they knew those critics cared just that black people were added to the show. And it made the complainers look all the more selfish and hypocritical. (More to the point the outcry was really about the inclusion of black females so Glover's possible addition won't satisfy those looking for progress on that front). Tambay's writeup last week was on target. There was no need for any of us to get worked up over this nonsense, not for this show. Even worse it was a case in which people went after the rare white female who runs and executive produces her own show. Where was this outrage towards Sex In the City or Entourage?

  • Melissa | May 19, 2012 8:25 AM

    I agree and also disagree (I've agreed with you many times before regarind *us* black women's failure to see the crisis of the leading black man).

    I agree with you that the Black Blogosphere blew up over this mess, primarily led by Black Women.

    Those blogs however, churn out disingenous, manipulative, paranoid articles to keep getting hits from weakminded Blacks (especially us women). They do not represent the minds of their audiences. Not all Black Females agree with our blogs' mindsets, for example me.

    So there I disagree. Otherwise, I understand where you're coming from accidentalvisitor.

  • Nadine | May 18, 2012 10:03 PM

    I was Kevin Hart-ed... ridiculous... the @AV is mine the rest was foolishness by my someone on my team...please ignore ... left my screen open.

  • Nadine | May 18, 2012 9:30 PM

    @AV - You actually don't know what you're talking about...

  • DJP | May 18, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    Enough with Girls! Let's support Awkward Black Girl. Maybe Issa Rae and company will have another opportunity to discuss with tv execs the possibility of moving the show to network tv. I know, slight chance but I. Have. A. Dream.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 18, 2012 7:17 PMReply

    Fan of his, fan of hers -- fan of the show (so far).

  • Akimbo | May 18, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    I'm a fan of his, but I hate this show (not because of the "race drama"), so I'll pass. Let me know when supercut of all his scenes is up on Youtube.

  • Film Fatale NYC | May 18, 2012 5:45 PMReply

    *dial tone*

  • Jai | May 18, 2012 5:43 PMReply

    He's an after thought after all the publicity, I still won't be watching!

  • Nadine | May 18, 2012 5:22 PMReply

    Okay... this is a drive-by, but I'm asking that specifically the women of color on this board PLEASE NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF FINDING OFFENSE IN "GIRLS'" CONTINUED EXCLUSION OF A BLACK "GIRL". Puh-Lease, don't fall for this. We are being scapegoated by White Insiders who hate Dunham's access and privilege so they use a lack of diversity as a cause to fight, superficially on our behalf intending to cause concern amongst Blacks, but wholly in their own interests (both good and bad coverage for GIRLS is a coup for Dunham). I was sorry to see the topic here on S&A, and I understood why that would have to be, but I wished that instead of simply stating that the premise (the idea of diversity in casting being demanded and forcing Dunham to not write a story she identifies with) was the issue, but if the article could have been written from the point of view of the TOPIC being placed on our backs DISINGENUOUSLY. In other words, calling the topic out on its BS. Again, I can tell you as someone very involved in the industry and group for women in the industry and other organizations that NO ONE CARED about this show or even knew about it. This was not "OUR" issue... this was an issue started by the White blogosphere. No one really gives a sh!t about this show and as long as there is an increase in diversity elsewhere on-screen who really cares? Also, there are so many shows (that are popular) without diverse casts... why are they demanding more from Dunham... again, the agenda was clear..."PEOPLE OF COLOR" were being used.

  • Melissa | May 19, 2012 8:15 AM

    Nadine, thank you. I mean, of all the shows we've been excluded from why go in on Girls? It seems it's sexist white men starting this mess.

    But of course, when all else fails, blame the Evil Black Jezebel. lol!

  • Bondgirl | May 18, 2012 8:36 PM

    Yes Laura, black folks love to white knight the agenda of others....remember Lucas & Red Tails? This is no exception. I will not be watching this trash anyway, simply bc it looks uninteresting.

  • Laura | May 18, 2012 6:29 PM

    Thank you Nadine. I call BS on this so-call diversity issue controversy. This is about white boys hatin' on a privilege white girl 'cause she can accomplish things they can't. I read Black blogs. Don't nobody care about "Girls". Shoot, prolly aint never heard of the show. People I know don't talk about the show. Ain't never heard of Tiny Furniture nor Dunham. Why are we giving all this free publicity to "Girls". Is HBO paying y'all. And I hate, I mean I hate when Black folks are duped into fighting white folks battles for them. You mean really, Black folks "pleading" to be include in this. This is what we aspire to? Please. Shoot. S & A, I usually do not make any request but --NO MORE POST for HBO "Girls". Thank you. Sincerely, Laura

  • other song | May 18, 2012 5:26 PM

    thanks Nadine. Nothing more annoying than using another group of people's real pain to capitalize and advance your own petty interests. The whole thing is fishy to me. I've heard of Dunham before but never even heard of the show until this supposed 'race issue'.

  • Katie | May 18, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    So I guess adding a black GIRL to "Girls" is too much to ask? O_o WTF??

  • Katie | May 18, 2012 6:12 PM

    @Nadine: I'm not stressed. Either way imo it's a lose/lose situation for black women and girls. If you say nothing, they'll continue to erase and misrepresent black women. If you say something your complaining or "giving them what they want." Not true. You may think all that matters is that we're getting better in other areas, but not me, respectively. I want to discuss what's going on here and in other areas. *shrug*

  • Nadine | May 18, 2012 5:25 PM

    @KATIE - I really wouldn't stress it. It's their typical manipulation. Why give them exactly what they want... things are getting better elsewhere. I really do think that is all that matters...

  • Cherish | May 18, 2012 3:24 PMReply

    Ah OK. Now all they have to do is put an Asian girl on his arm. They'll look like the typical non-white couple in Hipster Brooklyn.

  • Melissa | May 18, 2012 3:39 PM

    They'll most likely put him with an Asian/obvious Latina before they do with one of the main White girls on the show. If his character is written straight that is.

    The black girl they want to add is supposedly lesbian. So her sex organs don't count :)

  • Melissa | May 18, 2012 3:23 PMReply


    By the way it was not even us complaining at first. It was white critics. Then the word got out to black blogs, and you know what happens then. It becomes the civil rights act of the 20th century.

    Maybe Donald Spiderman Glover will be a love interest but I doubt it. Unless for a few eppys.
    bm/ww is not really supported on white shows.

    I've actually never watched an episode of this show but I'll check it out for Glover who made me laugh with the whole Black Spiderman debacle.

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