About Ashley

You have to go to these writers and these producers and be like, “Hey, I wouldn’t say this,” and you have to be really bold about that. That’s not easy. I’ve never necessarily played the stereotypical Black girl in that way, how the world may perceive it but even my character on Dear White People – she is unapologetically Black and says quote unquote Black things. She has braids down to her butt, but it’s authentic because it was written by Black people. Our showrunner is a Black woman. Our creator is a Black man. It’s a lot different.

You have to speak up, all of us do. And before getting these roles, we need to ask questions like, “Are there Black people in the writer’s room?” Is there anyone Black on the producing team? Is there anyone? Because we still need to be represented, because what happens is our stories can fall through the cracks. Our nuance can fall through the cracks if there’s no one that that is able to represent us. Sometimes we’re made to feel bad about it, but the truth is – if someone is going to do a TV show about Jewish families in the 1930s in New York City, they’re not going to have a writers room majority African-American people. They’re just not going to do it. They’re just not. So why is it that when it’s our stories, we’re expected to be okay when there’s such a lack of representation of people that actually have a connection to who we are, our culture, and our stories? Why are we made to feel bad about that?