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The Bold Type’s Aisha Dee Calls For More Diverse Storytelling, Way Less Kat and Ava

Aisha Dee as Kat Edison. Photo: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Put this on the front page of Scarlet magazine. Actress Aisha Dee stood up for all the Kat Edisons in the world in an Instagram post addressing diversity on her show The Bold Type. With the open letter, she’s hoping the show can move forward and “really practice the things The Bold Type teaches, by acknowledging mistakes and making commitments to be better in the future.” Dee says that in her time as Kat, it took “three seasons to get someone in the hair department who knew how to work with textured hair,” and two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writers’ room, “and even then, the responsibility to speak for the entire Black experience cannot and should not fall on one person.” There were no LGBTQ Black or Muslim writers on staff when they wrote that tumultuous love story of a queer Black woman and a lesbian Muslim woman, she adds. Dee also takes issue with a current storyline, where Kat has gotten romantically involved with a woman named Ava, whose dad ran a gay conversion camp. “The decision to have Kat enter into a relationship with a privileged conservative woman felt confusing and out of character,” Dee writes. “Despite my personal feelings about the choice, I tried my best to tell the story with honesty, even though the Kat I know and love would never make these choices. It was heartbreaking to watch Kat’s story turn into a redemption story for someone else, someone who is complicit in the oppression of so many. Someone whose politics are actively harmful to her communities.”

Dee continues outlining her experience as a Black woman in Hollywood: “I could list every microaggression and example of problematic behavior I’ve encountered throughout my career, but I’m not writing this for sympathy or to incite anger — I’m writing this in the hopes that the people who come next don’t have to experience the things I have,” she writes. After having conversations with writers and producers “over the last few weeks,” she’s hopeful that Freeform and The Bold Type will commit to doing better. Freeform, Universal TV, and The Bold Type’s producer already released their own statement applauding Dee. “Our goal on The Bold Type is and has always been to tell entertaining, authentic stories that are representative of the world that Kat, Jane, and Sutton live in — we can only do that if we listen,” the statement reads. Speaking of, that strong female friendship came through offscreen — both Sutton (Meghann Fahy) and Jane (Katie Stevens) reposted Dee’s open letter. The drama continues on The Bold Type’s season-four finale airing July 16 at 10 p.m.

The Bold Type’s Aisha Dee Calls for More Diversity on Set