The entertainment industry’s current-day reckoning with its role in systemic racism extends beyond its most recent purge of actors (both the fired and the peacefully exiting ones) and all previous examples of anything resembling blackface. Some shows are actually having to reconsider their entire approach. As previously reported, Brooklyn Nine-Nine recently scrapped the scripts for the first four episodes of the upcoming season after daily protests against a systemically racist police state. In a recent interview with People, series star Andy Samberg noted that production is still working on how to progress from this point.
“We’re taking a step back, and the writers are all rethinking how we’re going to move forward, as well as the cast,” Samberg said. “We’re all in touch and kind of discussing how you make a comedy show about police right now, and if we can find a way of doing that that we all feel morally okay about.”
The death of George Floyd, along with ample documentation of law enforcement’s violent behavior during peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, has stoked a wider interest in a long-standing conversation about “copaganda,” or media images that work to present a more empathetic side to the police state while ignoring the systemic racism and implicit bias that plagues the culture. Though Brooklyn Nine-Nine maintains a passionate fan base, it has also been accused of engaging in this problematic phenomenon. Last month, Samberg’s co-star Stephanie Beatriz joined fellow TV cop Griffin Newman in challenging similarly employed actors to donate a portion of their salaries to the National Bail Fund Network. In addition, the cast has made a collective donation of $100,000 to the same initiative. For now, Samberg remains confident that the comedy will find a suitable way to exist within the current state of the world: “I know that we’ll figure it out, but it’s definitely a challenge, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.