In keeping with the show’s themes of encroaching modernization on an archaic way of life, Downton Abbey is preparing to introduce one black man to its cast, thereby reflecting the historical introduction of one black man to early 20th-century English society. That black man, a 1920s jazz musician named Jack Ross, will join the cast in the show’s fourth season, and is described as “a real man” (not a hallucination) who is also “very attractive” and boasting “a certain wow factor.” (As in, “Wow, there is a black man on Downton Abbey.”)
The search is now on for one of the surely dozens of black men who have joined the United Kingdom since then to play Ross, though in order to hedge those bets, The Huffington Post has also suggested American actors Taye Diggs, Donald Faison, and even Donald Glover (who has previous experience solving issues of diversity by being one black man with his recent turn on Girls). Once that actor is cast, it’s expected the show—about the lives and loves of very wealthy white people clinging to the vestiges of their unearned, inherited dominion—would attract a much broader black audience, given that at least one black man will be watching now.
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