riverdale vanessa morgan
[Photo via YouTube]

Protests worldwide have continued to take place in support of Black Lives Matter and the demand for change following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Now, Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan is using her platform to spread awareness about the institutional racism found in Hollywood.

In a note shared on social media this week, the actress calls out Riverdale‘s involvement in the treatment of black actors. Since sharing the post, other Riverdale actors are speaking out, too.

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After a series of production shutdowns due to coronavirus, Riverdale recently wrapped its fourth season. Morgan, who plays reformed bad girl Toni Topaz, became a series regular in season three. Now, Morgan is using her platform to address the problems she has faced in Hollywood.

Showing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Morgan took to Twitter to share that she is tired of how black people are portrayed in the media.

“Tired of how black people are portrayed in media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people,” she writes. “Tired of us also being used as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show.”

Although Morgan is a series regular, her character of Toni Topaz tends to be involved in more side plots alongside her fellow castmates. More specifically, the majority of her scenes pertain to being the girlfriend of Cheryl Blossom (played by Madelaine Petsch).

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Riverdale fans quickly responded to Morgan’s post in which the actress opened up further about the inequality she has faced on the show. One of the biggest details she revealed is that she is paid the least out of the series regulars.

“LMAO too bad I’m the only black series regular but also get paid the least,” she tweets. “Girl I could go on for days.”

Morgan is the only black series regular on Riverdale. As she shared in another tweet, she feels that Toni Topaz is used as a token character to try and appeal to other audiences.

“But exactly, used as a token biracial bisexual,” she says.

Asha Bromfield who played Melody Jones brought up the issues regarding the Pussycats, the all-black female musical group on the show. She believes that the Pussycats don’t get the credit or screentime they deserve and are only used as a way to add sassy characters to storylines. Morgan showed her support for the comment with two black heart emojis.

Don’t even get me started with how Riverdale treated the Pussycats,” Bromfield tweets. “We had so much more to contribute than standing in the background and adding sass to a storyline. I stand with you @VanessaMorgan.”

Ashleigh Murray who now plays Pussycats’ Josie McCoy on the Riverdale spinoff series Katy Keene (starring Lucy Hale) also spoke out about how she’s been treated. She hopes that as more actors speak out, equal treatment will begin to happen in Hollywood.

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“These are the ways can implement real change,” Murray tweets. “The beginning of concrete conversations and plans of action that will mold our future for the better. We are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for equal treatment.”

Some began to attack Morgan’s fellow Riverdale actors due to the inequality she has faced. However, the actress quickly said that the problems she deals with have nothing to do with the actors she works alongside.

“My role on Riverdale has nothing to do with my fellow castmates/friends,” Morgan says. “They don’t write the show. So no need to attack them, they don’t call the shots and I know they have my back.”

Lili Reinhart who plays Betty Cooper tweeted her support for Morgan.

“We love you, V. And support you 1000%,” Reinhart tweets.

For Morgan, she wants to use her platform and role on Riverdale as an outlet to fight for the Black community. As someone who saw a lack of representation on TV growing up, Morgan wants to use her acting to bring multi-dimensional and impactful characters to Hollywood.

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“To my black fans, I have no made it my purpose to fight for us,” she tweets. “To the six-year-old me who had no role model that looked like me on TV. This is for you. We aren’t your token black non-dimensional characters. This is being black in Hollywood. I will fight for YOU.”

According to a 2019 “Hollywood Diversity” report from the University of California, Los Angeles, only 2 out of every 10 lead actors in scripted television broadcast series during the 2016-2017 season were people of color.

Riverdale stars have been showing their support for the Black Lives Movement protests happening worldwide. Cole Sprouse who plays Jughead Jones recently revealed that he was arrested while protesting this week. He shared what he saw during the protests and what everyone can do to support the BLM movement.

What do you think of Vanessa Morgan’s comments? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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