As Aziz Ansari recently explored in Master Of None, being an Indian actor means frequently getting called in for the most stereotypical roles imaginable. And now a new YouTube series is exploring that reality from the black perspective as well. Asked to share their craziest audition stories, Temesgen Tocruray and Lynnese Page reveal how frustrating it is to constantly be asked to audition for “thugs” and “mammies” without getting the opportunity to be seriously considered for other roles.
The YouTube series doubles as promotion for a New York City play called Room 4, a comedy centered on four black actors who wind up caught in a time loop as they audition for the same Drug Dealer #2 role. Authors Marina Tempelsman and Niccolo Aeed describe the play as, “Waiting For Godot meets A Chorus Line meets Groundhog’s Day meets the real-life experience of virtually every black actor in America.” And the YouTube series explores the latter part of that tagline.
And in addition to Tocruray and Page’s stories of stereotypical casting calls, Rasheda Crockett also points out that black women have to deal not only with racism, but with some pretty skeevy sexism as well:
For another perspective on the same topic, check out Bear Bellinger’s Vox article “I’m a black actor. Here’s how inequality works when you’re not famous.”