Black actors in the lead?

On NBC too?????? I was shocked when I read that J.J. Abrams who was the executive producer of such shows as Alias, Felicity and currently Lost has cast two black actors (or biracial for those who want to get technical) in his new series UndercoversSoul Food’s Boris Kodjoe and English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw who starred in Doctor Who have been cast as husband and wife in the new series.

J.J. Abrams has found his next great heroine.

English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Doctor Who) has nabbed the coveted female lead in Undercovers, the new NBC dramedy about married spies from Abrams and Josh Reims, sources confirm to me exclusively.

Mbatha-Raw will play the role of Samantha Bloom opposite Soul Food’s Boris Kodjoe, who was previously cast as her husband, Steven Bloom.

Gerald McRaney co-stars as the couple’s boss.

NBC confirmed this week that Abrams will direct the Undercovers pilot.

So, who’s Mbatha-Raw? The 27-year-old actress is best known for her recurring role as Tish Jones in Doctor Who. Other credits include UK dramas Spooks and Bonekickers. Most recently, she appeared on Broadway in Hamlet opposite Jude Law.

When I first read about Boris being cast in the show I was happy for him but I thought there was no way in hell network tv would cast a black actress as his wife. When was the last time you’ve seen a black couple or black folks period in the lead on network tv?   Part of an ensemble cast yet only a few lines, yes.  Best friend, yes.  Sidekick, yes.  Shoulder to cry on, yes.  Stuck in the background, yes.   I mean it’s the 21st century and take a real good look at network television. I thought for sure they were gonna cast a non black actress. But when I read that Miss Mbatha-Raw was cast as Boris’s wife I nearly fell out of my chair.  It’s the 21st century and this is a shock to me yet it shouldn’t be.  But we all know how Hollywood is.

I’m not familiar with Miss Mbatha-Raw’s work but you can read more about her in this May 2009 interview at the Guardian.uk.  I’m very familiar with Boris Kodjoe.  I was a huge fan of Boris from his Soul Food days and he also starred in the short lived tv series Second Time Around with his real life wife Nicole Ari Parker who also starred in Soul Food.

Anyway I’m looking forward to Undercovers.

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2 Comments

  1. The article is clumpsy, the point that network television has cast a black couple in lead roles is great…but somehow you move away from this and end up sounding as though this should have never been done. (slightly racist)

  2. ladyrayne

    Jarvas, apparently you misread this post. I never said casting blacks in the lead shouldn’t have been done. I was shocked that a black actress was cast because it’s rare to see black actresses in the lead on a network tv show. That’s why I said I nearly fell out of my chair. It’s a shocking casting situation coming from so called liberal Hollywood cause they always cast white actresses in the lead.

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