If Hollywood knows how to do anything consistently, it’s erasing marginalized voices in all facets of the industry.
According to Variety, Anjelika Washington (Stargirl) revealed that she’d experienced such erasure while working on a previous television show. Instead of casting a Black stunt performer like someone with some fucking sense, the show decided to throw in a stunt double wearing blackface instead. Because that’s totally cool. *eyeroll*
“Flashback to 2017. My 4th job as an actor, my first recurring guest star, and my first time having a stunt double— and they painted her Black. I was very uncomfortable (as anyone would be to meet your double in blackface) so I spoke up for myself, I pulled one of our producers aside and asked “Why isn’t my stunt double Black like me? Isn’t that the point of a “double?” She responded ‘Sure. But we couldn’t find a Black stunt double in LA. Los Angeles doesn’t have many Black stunt performers. But aren’t you happy to be working? You should be thankful to be here,’” Washington recalled on a recent Instagram post.
The 22-year-old actress’ IMDb page lists the 2017 Go90 series Versus as her fourth TV project.
As you can see in the photo, Washington’s pained smile speaks volumes in that she was uncomfortable with the situation, and she confirms as much. She also confirmed that she didn’t end up using the stunt double and performed her own stunts.
“They feel like a savior for giving a young Black girl a role in their show, even though most times it’s just to check a box,” Washington added. “They often don’t check to see if we are comfortable with what they are asking of us, they often call us unprofessional or a diva for advocating for ourselves, and most times they get away with paying us wayyy less than our costars...This is why being inclusive and hiring POC in front of the camera and behind it, is extremely imperative.”
Last year, we touched on the concept of “wigging” and “painting down” within the industry in our video interview with Jazzy Ellis (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Ride Along 2, The Walking Dead, Black Lightning), one of the several Black stunt performers who are actively working (not to mention the ones who are likely looking for work and are being ignored).
Jason Winston George (Station 19) and Hayley Law (Riverdale) also confirmed they experienced similar incidents involving stunt doubles via the comment section on Washington’s Instagram, per Variety.