We’re a handful of days removed now from ABC canceling The Baker and the Beauty, and one of its stars is making their frustration very clear.
In a new statement, Nathalie Kelley (who plays Noa on the romantic comedy-drama hybrid) took ABC to task not only for ending the show, but failing to recognize the series’ importance when it comes to the representation of diversity on television:
Now more than ever, the world is waking up to the importance of diversity and representation on our televisions. We want networks to commit wholeheartedly to ensuring that BIPOC, LATINX and LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups, get a chance to tell our stories. Baker and The Beauty was a show that embodied the themes of unity, empathy, and compassion, all of which are so needed in our national discourse right now.
For years, Latinx stories were limited to drug cartels, maids and the ‘spicy latina’ sex object. I credit ABC for letting us tell the story of a loving, wholesome and hilarious Cuban-American family on network TV. I praise them for allowing the youngest daughter Natalie’s LGBTQ storyline be central to our show. I am also forever grateful to them for casting me, an Indigenous woman, as the lead female role. Noa Hamilton was not written for a woman of color, but they cast me anyway. And I could not be prouder of what we all did and the show we created.
These stories create empathy, and there is nothing that we need more in these times than unity, empathy and compassion. That is why it was especially sad to not see them follow through on their support for our beloved series. Nevertheless I remain hopeful that there is a platform out there that will jump on the opportunity to give this show a new home. A chance to send a meaningful message to our communities that they hear our passion, our voices coming from our streets, demanding visibility and justice. The Baker and the Beauty is a beautiful show, one that means so much to so many people. It’s full of love, laughter, inspiration, and comfort. And I cannot think of anything more necessary during these times.
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Kelley is correct — when you look around all of the major broadcast networks, there is not an abundance of scripted series with a majority-Latinx cast. The Baker and the Beauty was helping to defy expectations and stereotypes, while also providing a story that is meaningful to all audiences.
If you haven’t signed the petition yet to save The Baker and the Beauty, why not check it out? More than 100,000 have so far, and that is certainly no small feat given how short of a period of time it’s been. There are still people out there who are going to discover this show; they deserve an opportunity to see more. Right now, a signal boost is the top priority; from there, it will be easier to think about prospective networks and homes.
What do you think about Nathalie Kelley’s statement?
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This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.