042514 Debbie Allen

Dancer and director Debbie Allen has been in the acting game long enough to see the changes in how black women are depicted on television.

Allen grew up during a time when Diahann Carroll and Diana Ross were on the screen, but images like theirs were rare. After having worked in front of the camera on Fame and then later transitioning behind the scenes for shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Allen attributes the changes to diversity throughout the set.

“…I think the differences come from a new ownership of the image black women,” she says on Huff Post TV. “When I was doing A Different World, we had black women writing their characters. You know, when Phylicia was on The Cosby Show, there were black women writers on the set of that show.”

“I think the difference now is that we have powerful women like Shonda Rhimes pushing that envelope in a way that it didn’t quite get pushed before,” she adds.

Still, she thinks diversity is an “old, old conversation” that will end when there is a fusion of all races and cultures.

“At the end of the day, I think, as time goes on, we will see the melting pot really become a melting pot, where there’s a fusion of all of our races and cultures, and there will be very narrow differences that you can make. You know, when you go to Brazil, you see black people with blonde hair and blue eyes. You know, you see white people with dark hair. You see a mixture, and that’s kind of where the world is headed right now. You can look at the statistics in America, look at the political landscape in America, look at the forecast, and it will tell you that the balance of ethnicity is changing. It will no longer in another fifty years be a white dominated society. It will be a mixture, because that’s where the world is going. Everybody needs to get on that train and stop it already.”

Read more of the interview, including her views on diversity in dance, here.


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