Aziz Ansari thanked Netflix for getting 'what diversity really is' in a candid speech.

'Let's have a show where there's a token white guy.'

Aziz Ansari is the co-creator and star of "Master of None," a show that's pretty revolutionary for a sad reason: It actually reflects the diversity of the real world.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.


"Master of None" has a diverse cast in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

And that's not as common as it should be in Hollywood.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.

So when Ansari was honored at the Peabody Awards on May 21, 2016, he gave thanks where thanks was due.

"I want to thank Netflix and Universal for believing in us and letting us tell our stories," he said.

"I think they really seem to get what diversity really is. It's not, 'Hey, let's give this white protagonist a brown friend!' No. It's, 'Let's have a show where there's a token white guy.' And that's what [our show] is."

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Peabody.

In an entertainment landscape still embarrassingly homogenous (behind and in front of the camera) Ansari is right: Netflix stands out.

Hollywood tends to create content that's overwhelming white, heterosexual, and told through the male perspective (didn't you watch the Oscars this year?). In Netflix's original programming, however, you'll find quite a few projects that buck the trend.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black." Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Series like "Orange Is the New Black," "Narcos," and "Master of None" prove TV can certainly be successful, sans-white leads. Superheroine "Jessica Jones" is breaking down gender stereotypes when it comes to action series. "Sense8" is piling on awards for its groundbreaking inclusion of LGBT characters and themes. And it says a lot that the company's first original theatrical film"Beasts of No Nation," starring Idris Elba — featured an all-black cast.

"We’re programming for diverse and eclectic tastes and for an increasingly global audience," Cindy Holland, Netflix's vice president of original content, told Variety. "So the folks working on those titles and the folks here at Netflix serving those consumers have to increasingly be more reflective of the audience we serve and the programs we make. It’s something we’re very focused on."

Idris Elba at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

It's not just Netflix, either. Other streaming services — namely, Hulu and Amazon Prime — can boast relatively diverse original content as well, with hits like "Transparent," "The Mindy Project," and "Difficult People" breaking the mold.

Still, across virtually all platforms (streaming or not), there's ample room for improvement.

Thankfully, diversity in television is, slowly but surely, getting better (to Ansari's delight, I'm sure).

Although streaming companies have largely led the push for change, network TV is beginning to come around.

But could this desire for diversity simply be a hot trend that'll surely fade?

That's a firm, "no" from Holland, who said Netflix is "absolutely" committed to making its programming even more diverse. It seems like they're not alone.

Diversity on TV shouldn't be all that revolutionary. But until it isn't, at least we have Ansari's candid acceptance speeches to look forward to.

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Variety.

Most Shared

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer (HD) www.youtube.com

As a child, I spent countless hours with Mister Rogers. I sang along as he put on his cardigan and sneakers, watched him feed his fish, and followed his trolley into the Land of Make Believe. His show was a like a calm respite from the craziness of the world, a beautiful place where kindness always ruled. Even now, thinking about the gentle, genuine way he spoke to me as a child is enough to wash away the angst of my adult heart.

Fred Rogers was goodness personified. He dedicated his life not just to the education of children, but to their emotional well-being. His show didn't teach us letters and figures—he taught about love and feelings. He showed us what community looks like, what accepting and including different people looks like, and what kindness and compassion look like. He saw everyone he met as a new friend, and when he looked into the camera and said, "Hello, neighbor," he was sincerely speaking to every person watching.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared
"Why is Dad So Mad"

Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event — like war.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes
True
Verizon