Riverdale actor Bernadette Beck recently discussed the show where she indicated that it fails black characters and specifically took issue with her character, Peaches N’ Cream.
In a recent interview with Elle’s Gabrielle Noel, the Riverdale actress claimed that the show’s writers did a disservice to her character, Peaches N’ Cream, stating that she “was made out to be a very unlikable character and therefore, an unlikeable person in people’s eyes.”
Beck’s statements came after fellow Riverdale actress Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz, took to Twitter in May to complain about the industry’s treatment of black actors and characters.
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She said, “Tired of how Black people are portrayed in media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous, or angry, scary people.”
“Tired of us being used as sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads,” Beck continued.
She concluded, “Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with media. I’m not being quite anymore.”
While Morgan would make a generalized statement towards Hollywood, Beck would make specific accusations against the Riverdale production team.
She detailed that the Riverdale team didn’t develop a backstory for her Peaches N’ Cream character. She went as far as to claim that the character didn’t even develop a personality.
She told Elle, “I get it, there’s always a protagonist and antagonist, but I never had much of a story plot or enough character development to even be considered an antagonist
Beck continued, “I was, for no reason, depicted in a very negative, unattractive light. And I’m not the first Black actress to show up on set, stand there, chew gum, and look sassy and mean. I feel like I was just there to fulfill a diversity quota. It’s just to fulfill points.”
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The issues didn’t only surround Peaches N’ Cream’s lack of character development, with Beck contending that she “was completely forgotten in the scene more than once,” during the filming of the series.
Blasting the production team for treating her as nothing more than quota, Beck recalled how “the director [would] be walking off set and I’d have to chase them down because I had no idea where to stand, what to do—I just hadn’t been given any instruction. You can’t treat people like they’re invisible and then pat yourself on the back for meeting your diversity quota for the day.”
Beck would also comment on the experiences she’s endured in real life due to her portraying an unlikeable character on screen, lamenting how she “didn’t understand when I first got on that show that it meant something for your character to be likable.”
She’d continue, “Some people say it’s just a TV show, but I’m thinking about the implications long-term. If we are depicted as unlikable or our characters are not developed or we’re looked at as the enemy all the time, that affects our public persona. What kind of opportunities are we losing out on even after Riverdale?”
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She then added, “Our white co-stars are getting all this screen time and character development.”
Beck elaborated, “They’re building up their following, generating more fans, selling out at conventions, and fans have more of an emotional connection with them.”
She then questioned, “But if we don’t necessarily get that, and we’re looked at with disdain, what does that do to us and how does that stain our reputation moving forward?”
She would then state, “When you’re in it, you’re going through the motions and you’re like, ‘Oh great, I finally get to be utilized!”
“But when I saw it all put together, it made my character seem like she was down for anything,” Beck concluded.
What do you make of Bernadette Beck’s comments on her treatment on Riverdale and the overall state of the entertainment industry?