The Bold Type is a show about three millennial best friends — Jane Sloan, Kat Edison and Sutton Brady — who work at a fictional women’s magazine called Scarlet in New York City. The series follows them as they navigate their careers and love lives, against the backdrop of their friendship.  

Hidden problems

The series was renewed for a fifth and final season on January 27th and will be just six episodes long, making it its shortest season.

The Bold Type has been excellent in showcasing the importance of strong, supportive female friendships in young women’s lives. Throughout the series, issues such as women’s health, sexual assault and privilege have all received attention. In spite of this, the show has one significant flaw — the crew behind the scenes.

After the BLM protests last year, actress Aisha Dee (who plays Kat Edison) used her Instagram platform to broadcast the lack of diversity behind the screen of the Bold Type and how significant that is for the stories told.

When it came to the writers’ room, it ‘took two seasons to get a single BIPOC’ working there and there have ‘never been any queer black or Muslim writers’ to date, even though Kat’s character is a bisexual and biracial woman who falls in love with a Muslim woman. At one point, the lack of diversity even affected the hair department. It was not until Season 3 that a stylist who could work with textured hair was hired.

Unfortunately, this follows a consistent pattern in Hollywood. Black actors simply don’t receive the same level of support as their white counterparts. This isn’t to say that only minority writers can or should create characters highlighting a certain minority group. But it’s arguably more of a challenge to provide authenticity to a script if you lack the experience. Having a writer that lived through something helps build trust with the audience who in turn feel better represented on television.

Words left to the wind?

For me, Dee’s comments were illuminating. I’ve followed The Bold Type for years but something about the writing has always seemed off to me. In the third season, Kat gives a line that stuck with me. She says that she is a ‘late bloomer when it comes to, like, identity and race stuff’. That line always felt like a cop-out for me; as if the writers were aware of their own failings and trying to justify that.

Dee’s comments on the show’s lack of diversity were honest and brave. When I initially saw the post, I was keen to see if this would affect the future of the show. Given that the final season will only have six episodes, I am doubtful if there will be room for any significant changes. So far, there have been no new additions announced for the writers’ room, which leaves me thinking that Dee’s words may just blow into the wind.

I guess we’ll just have to wait for Season 5 to see if the producers paid any attention to what is clearly an important but woefully ignored problem affecting much of the entertainment industry.

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