Yara Shahidi is much more than just an actress on the ABC show ‘Black-ish‘ She’s also a 16-year-old budding activist who last month received the Daily Point of Light Award at the annual Points of Light Conference.
When accepting her award she gave a TED Talks-style speech where she dropped some serious knowledge on how the media perpetuates black stereotypes.
Often times these narratives are supported by fictional stories of characters from 100 of shows that grace your screen any time of the day. Many shows consciously and unconsciously perpetuate stereotypes by casting characters or casting people based on what a few in power seem to deem as believable. So if a black man is always cast as a drug dealer but rarely the righteous successful business man the conclusion is that it isn’t believable for a man of color to be inherently good or successful or on the side of righteousness. Good, bad, or indifferent TV helps define our collective reality. So if a child grows up never representative as successful or the hero than they are the anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.
And how shows like ‘Black-ish’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ are fighting those stereotypes
“As you watch Black-ish, you are witnessing the constant conversation and work we put into the blossoming and development of my character Zoey. She is my activism through art. She is an angsty, rebellious teen, entrepreneurial at heart, academically astute, and the thread that ties her family together. It is through my character and characters like her that the barriers that racism, ageism, sexism, and other-isms can be broken down.”
Watch in full below.