Aisha Dee calls for more diversity — both on-screen and off.
Wednesday on Instagram, the star of “The Bold Type” published a lengthy statement calling out her own show, produced by Universal Television for Freeform, for its lack of representation.
“I am ready to push harder and speak louder for what matters to me: The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera,” the Australian actress exclaimed.
In her note, Dee says it took the comedy-drama two seasons to hire a BIPOC writer, and that the show has only had one Black female director throughout its four seasons.
Despite having a plot about a queer Black woman and a lesbian Muslim woman falling in love, Dee says the program has never had any queer Black or Muslim writers.
The 26-year-old also says it took three seasons for the show to hire a hairstylist who knew how to work with textured hair.
“This was impactful on so many levels, and I’m grateful for the women who showed me how to embrace and love my hair in a way I never had before. I want to make sure that no one else ever has to walk onto a set and feel as though their hair is a burden. It is not,” she wrote.
While giving praise to Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe and new Freeform President Tara Duncan, who are both Black women, Dee says “The Bold Type” has never had a Black female head of department.
She also took issue with her character Kat entering a relationship with a “privileged conservative woman.”
“Despite my personal feelings about the choice, I tried my best to tell the story with honesty, even though the Kat I know and love would never make these choices,” she said. “It was heartbreaking to watch Kat’s story turn into a redemption story for someone else, someone who is complicit in the oppression of so many. Someone who’s politics are actively harmful to her communities.”
Fortunately, Dee reveals that over the past few weeks, she has had conversations with the show’s writers and producers, as well as executives at Freeform and Universal TV, which will hopefully lead to the hiring, promotion, and elevation of diverse voice at “The Bold Type” and beyond.
“This is not judgment. This is a call to action,” Dee concluded. “We deserve to see stories that are for us, by us.”
In a joint statement released to People on Thursday, Freeform and Universal Television “applaud Aisha for raising her hand and starting conversations around these important issues.”
“We look forward to continuing that dialogue and enacting positive change,” it read. “Our goal on ‘The Bold Type’ is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane and Sutton live in — we can only do that if we listen."
Read Aisha’s full statement, below: