Where one or two gather, it’s church. Alas, in the world of daytime drama, it just means one too many Black and Brown faces. To the back burner or unemployment line you go!
The Young and the Restless is planting their flag when it comes to not putting respect on their minority cast, characters and legions of fans who support the show. Mishael Morgan’s Hilary was killed off in July. On Monday, Christel Khalil announced she was going on recurring. Rumor has it that Lily will apparently go to jail for taking Hilary to freedom.
Morgan’s agent has already gone on the record about his client being lowballed. Khalil said it was her choice to go off contract. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it. Alexa, play Jay Z’s Takeover and help us sing the line We don’t believe you, you need more people.
But I digress.
The loss of Morgan and Khalil, two female leads of color on not only Y&R but daytime as a whole, is a blow. There’s no way to cushion the impact. To be clear, I haven’t cared for the character of Lily in quite some time. She just doesn’t do it for me, a prerogative that has resulted in 99% of her fans blocking me because Dru’s daughter is just beautiful gowns. Nonetheless, Lily Amanda Winters is a legacy character that has earned her place on the canvas and deserves more than to have been a cudgel to split the Black audience. There can be more than one of us but in Genoa City, the highlander edict is in effect. On screen, Lily and Hilary were pitted as rivals to the point it just stopped making a lick of sense. The contempt Lily felt for Hilary reduced her to a caricature and ultimately Hilary’s killer and that of her unborn child.
I’m a writer. Obviously. I know when a character is being portrayed out of form and into a corner. Y&R pushed Lily into one as much as they made Hilary a punching bag. It is by design.
While a lot of fans were fighting over the scraps writers threw at us, TPTB were killing two birds with one stone. Apparently, Lily and Hilary exiting the canvas is to make way for the Rosales family. It’ll be back to Winters Wednesdays because that’s the only time you’ll see them.
The belief that minority characters are interchangeable, simply swapped out for another, is so offensive. An intellectual would say that the Winters can co-exist with this new family coming to town. The Newman’s and Abbotts certainly have a full roster of characters and plots. There’s no having to choose between either so the other can fully exist with depth. Lily and Hilary could’ve also lived their best lives with the new girl Kerry Jones coming to town. Instead, we’re reduced to tokens.
There are going to be many to hop in the mentions and say race has nothing to do with what’s onscreen. I’d be inclined to give CBS Daytime the benefit of doubt if not for the status of so many diminished leads of color.
After Hilary’s unnecessary death, Devon quickly becoming a non factor in the fallout, Neil’s continued irrelevancy and Nate’s bungled return, I stopped entertaining Y&R. I wished them an ounce of luck which they need since the ratings keep falling. In all honesty, it should’ve been a wrap after Victoria Rowell spoke out against the inequalities in writing, development of characters, hair, backstage roles and Emmy consideration.
Rowell got branded as crazy and difficult. Time has more than vindicated her.
Dru, Neil, Mamie, Olivia, Devon, Malcolm, Lily and Hilary were and are not flukes. The Winters/Barbers/Hamilton family unit is a part of the Genoa City fabric. Loosen their threads to the show and it will fall apart.
To be fair, the systemic discrimination and different rules for minority actors and their characters extends far beyond Y&R. Jordan and Curtis don’t grab me. Even if I did watch General Hospital more than once in a blue moon, they’re not heavily featured. The Bold and the Beautiful broke new ground with Maya’s transgender story and wove the Avants into the show only to shove them into the basement with the real Thorne. I don’t know who this impostor with the Australian accent is. Over at Days of Our Lives, the show is hot as grits but Lani and Eli are blink and you miss ’em while Abe has returned to a talk to. James Reynolds won that long overdue Emmy for a reason!
I hope those charged with cultivating the lives of our faves do better by the fans they still have left, of all color and creed. Diversity is not a stain you need to rub out.