Riverdale’s Vanessa Morgan Opens Up About Black TV Characters Marginalized as Sidekicks
The actress said she's "tired of how black people are portrayed in Media ... as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people"
On Sunday, the actress, 28, shared a message on Twitter, writing that she's "not being [quiet] anymore," and called for black characters to receive as much thoughtful attention in television and film as their nonblack counterparts.
"Tired of how black people are portrayed in Media, tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry scary people," wrote Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz on the CW series. "Tired of us also being used as side kick non dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with the media."
The statement followed Morgan's defense of her costar, Ashleigh Murray, after one person tweeted a claim that Murray was written off Riverdale because she was a "diva." Morgan quickly stood up for Murray and dispelled the rumor.
"You don’t know what the f--- your talking about and don’t talk about my friend like that," she replied to the since-deleted tweet. "Another thing i hate BLACK women being called DIVAS for sticking up for themselves."
She added, "Maybe the show should write for her like the white characters. You picked the wrong day get off my page."
Reps for The CW did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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Murray, 38, played Josie McCoy on Riverdale from 2017 to 2019, and she now reprises the role on the spin-off show Katy Keene alongside Lucy Hale. Murray also responded to the "diva" accusation, which also claimed she "didn't want to share the screen with other talented women."
"Lol you clearly have me mixed up with someone else," Murray recently wrote on Twitter. "I love the Pussycats more than any show ever did. If it were up to me, we'd have our own show. And you obviously don't watch Katy Keene because sis is surrounded by women. So f--- all the way off."
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In February, Hale, 30, told PEOPLE all about the new series, saying Katy Keene is a "passion project" that stands alone from Riverdale in tone.
“It’s a passion project because I’ve been part of it since almost the beginning,” Hale said. “We’ve been putting our heart and soul into it. It’s been like a little secret we’ve been sitting on for a while so I’m very excited to share it with everyone.”
The series follows aspiring fashion designer Katy (Hale) as she navigates her career and her relationship with her longtime wrestler boyfriend, supporting her friends and roommates along the way. One of those roommates is Riverdale's Josie (Murray) who comes to New York City to pursue a career in music.
“It’s about friendships and about finding yourself in your mid-20s,” Hale said.