On May 31, Vanessa expressed her frustration with the status quo in Hollywood. “Tired of how black people are portrayed in media,” she began a written statement on Twitter. “Tired of us being portrayed as thugs, dangerous or angry, scary people. Tired of us also being used as [sidekick], non-dimensional characters to our white leads or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with media.”
On Riverdale, Vanessa plays the character Toni Topaz, who was first introduced as a recurring character in the second season. She became a series regular in season 3 amid her relationship with Cheryl Blossom (played by Madelaine Petsch).
Many fans rallied to support Vanessa’s message and pointed out other black actors from the drama series who had disappeared over time. Ashleigh, who played Josie McCoy, left Riverdale last year for a colead role on the CW series Katy Keene. Actresses Hayley Law and Asha Bromfield — who portrayed Pussycat band members Valerie Brown and Melody Valentine — were written out of the show in 2018. Chuck Clayton, the reformed bad boy of Riverdale played by Jordan Calloway, also disappeared in 2018 during season 2.
The Canadian starlet’s powerful message comes during nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Lili didn’t just send support to Vanessa, she also encouraged influencers and activists from the black community to reach out if they wanted “to say a few words or share their thoughts” during an Instagram Live with the Chemical Hearts star. “They can have my platform to speak about this issue,” she explained.
Later that day, she went live on her platform with Kenidra R. Woods, a mental health advocate, author and activist to talk about black activism.
Riverdale stars are rallying behind Vanessa. Keep reading to see their responses.
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