The Oscar-winning writer for 12 Years A Slave stumbled a bit when asked at the London premiere of his upcoming Showtime drama Guerilla, “Where were the Black women?”
See John Ridley, who also created ABC’s American Crime, wrote and directed the series about a mixed-race couple who joins an underground anti-racist cell in the 70s whose goal is freeing a political prisoner (Idris Elba). And folks in the audience were not here for the love interest being played by South Asian actress Frieda Pinto.
According to The Huffington Post, one woman stood up and asked: “Why are there no black women at the forefront of the struggle? That doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect what happened in the ‘70s in the U.K.”
Ridley argued that if “everybody understood racism, oppression … there would be no reason to be doing this show.”
The HuffPo wrote that Ridley was visibly emotional and holding back tears as he explained that his own Asian wife inspired him to cast Pinto.
“I don’t want to make this overly personal, but part of why I chose to have a mixed-race couple at the center of this is that I’m in a mixed-race relationship,” he said.
He added: “The things that are being said here, and how we are often received, is very equivalent to what’s going on right now [in the wider world]. My wife is a fighter, my wife is an activist, and yet because our races our different, there are a lot of things we have to still put up with.”
There are Black women cast in the show, but how much airtime they receive or how large their parts are isn’t known to the public yet.