Niecy Nash on why TV needs more real female diversity

Do more and do better, says the star of TNT's dramedy "Claws"

Published August 14, 2017 6:45PM (EDT)

TNT features a lot of fierce females on its new show "Claws," but star Niecy Nash says the entertainment world has to do more to really tell the stories of different women.

The network has renewed the show about five Florida manicurists with devious side hustles for a second season, and Nash stopped by Salon recently to talk about her work and what she thinks Hollywood casting could improve upon.

Does Hollywood have enough women of color represented on screen today?

I feel like we could do more . . . and we could do better. I love that the types of roles are changing, because at one point, a lot of us who came up together in the industry played the "sassy black dot-dot-dot":  the "sassy black mother," the "sassy black friend," the "sassy black neighbor." It was just one note. There wasn't a nuanced, or a layered, character written in that, and then the tide changed. And then you had these amazing, complex characters that are out there now. You have Kerri Washington on Scandal, you have Viola [Davis], you have Taraji [Henson], you have Traci Ellis Ross — some amazing women who are working.

I think people think like, "Oh, there's Black women on TV, we can check the diversity box, entertainment industry, we're doing well!" And I'm like, "Pump the brakes for one second, because the world is so much bigger than Black and white women!" There are a lot of women whose stories are not being told: Asian women, Muslim women, African women, so many women. Trans women. Just women. I feel like I want to be a part of the change I want to see.

Watch the video for more of our conversation about diversity in TV. 

By Alli Joseph

Alli Joseph is a writer/producer and family historian; a Native New Yorker, she is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

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