Actors Kerry Washington and Aziz Ansari had a candid (well, as candid as one can be in front of an audience) conversation Friday for the fourth season of Variety and PBS’ 0Actors on Actors series Friday.
The two actors of color discussed diversity in television and the possible reasons that the medium is more diverse than film.
“I don’t know,” said Ansari. “If I had to guess, I feel like there’s more diverse creators [on TV].”
Both actors are stars of their own TV vehicles—Washington on ABC’s Scandal and HBO’s Confirmation, and Ansari, formerly of NBC’s Parks and Recreation fame, now on Netflix’s Master of None.
“Our show, it’s an Indian guy, Asian guy, so there’s going to be more Indian people, Asian people. We have a diverse group of friends and we didn’t even really think about it, when we were making the show, that ‘Oh, this is diverse.’ We were just like, ‘This feels real,’” says Ansari.
The two also talked about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy specifically and the fact that, in general, Hollywood is probably no more “white” than other industries.
“I saw this chart in the New York Times about like decision-makers—the gatekeepers in every single industry—and it was, like, all white people,” said Ansari.
“It came out after ‘Oscars So White,’ and I loved that they did it because there was all this attention on Hollywood, but it was like, no, no, no, every industry is so white,” Washington added.
A caveat to that may be that Hollywood produces images and therefore has more power to shape narratives, but that’s a whole other conversation (and one that I'm not in!).
The two-part fourth-season premiere of Variety Studio: Actors on Actors airs in June on PBS. Check your local listings.
Read more at Variety.