Between the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the cloud of racism that continues to hover over our society, Black actors are thoroughly and vocally fed up with the treatment they’ve received from their industry. Riverdale’s Vanessa Morgan has also spoken up about her experience, choosing to turn a rightfully critical eye on her own show. The actress, who portrays Toni Topaz on the CW soap, posted a brief statement to her social media following on Sunday, airing out her frustrations with with TV industry’s failure to provide fully fleshed out roles for Black actors. Morgan also noted the industry’s tendency to use its Black performers as marketing fodder to gain praise for alleged diversity without given them equal screen time. The tweet, which does not exclude Riverdale in any way, has since gained some attention notably after Glee’s Samantha Marie Ware commented on her experience with Lea Michele Monday evening.
“Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people,” Morgan’s statement reads. “Tired of us also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads.” In a separate, responding tweet, Morgan also spoke up about the pay disparity within the Greg Berlanti production, where she is paid less than her co-stars.
Morgan was careful to note in another tweet that her issue is not with her co-stars, but with the writers and execs who actually have the power to shape her character. While her co-star Lili Reinhart voiced her support of Morgan, nobody else from the production has commented as of yet.