AMC’s hit zombie drama “The Walking Dead” has come under fire recently with claims of a lack of diversity, but cast member Danai Guirra says it’s not so.
“If we literally lined this show up with other shows that are at this level of ratings, or near it, I mean come on,” Gurira says. “This show is actually the most diverse show, I think, right now. I don’t quite know what people are talking about. I’m like, ‘Huh?!’ I‘m very grateful for the cast I have. I’m looking around and I’m seeing Sonequa Martin-Green [who play Sasha], I’m seeing Steven Yeun [Glenn], I’m seeing Lawrence Gilliard [Bob], I’m seeing Chad Coleman [Tyreese]. Show me another show this diverse! I’m deeply confused by that concern.”
Columnist Lorraine Berry of Salon.com has called the show a “white patriarchy” using T-Dog’s demise and Oscar’s short turn as proof that “the critical mass of black men that can be in Rick’s group is one.” Gurira calls that notion “hilarious.”
“Characters are introduced roughly in accordance with when they show up in Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels,” Gurira explains. Perhaps this is why major characters of color, such as Michonne and Tyreese, show up later in the series. As does Lennie James’ Morgan, who appears in the pilot.
“I think the beauty of it is that there is a great template for [the show] in what Kirkman wrote,” Gurira says. “His book is very diverse and so is what we’ve put onto the screen. Tyreese and Michonne are not in the first episode or in the first frame of the graphic novel. They’re much later on. It’s not something that was designed against anybody, it’s just natural to the fact that it was Rick Grimes’ story and it starts out with him looking for his family.”
‘The Walking Dead’ airs Sundays on AMC at 9 EST.