Television has a come a long way in terms of representing the different people that make up modern society – may it be with regards to gender or race. However, daytime television has, in the recent years, seen a decline in the number of prominent African-American characters, and Days of our Lives
actor James Reynolds
isn't all too happy about it.
“There is tremendous storyline potential for black characters on soaps, but it's hard to convince the powers-that-be to acknowledge that the world is changing,” Reynolds, who plays Police Commissioner Abe Carver on the NBC soap, told TV Guide.ca. “You know, I've been tremendously disappointed for people of color on soaps.”
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That said, Reynolds, who debuted on Days of our Lives
in 1981, is proud that the show has let him “grow older as a black man on” television.
“[That] rarely happens in any genre,” he explained. “I think often times, daytime TV operates from a cocoon. They're not looking around themselves. I can't solely lay the blame on daytime TV, but it's suspect when you consider the largest demographic watching daytime is blacks. They deserve to see their own stories reflected on their favorite shows.”
However and quite unfortunately, James Reynolds said that it's common practice among soaps not to place importance in “minority characters.” He added that in order for daytime television to be rid of such mentality, it must take after its primetime counterparts.
“Nighttime shows like Lost have disproved the soap opera module… their popularity is based on their diverse casts, not in spite of their diverse cast,” Reynolds said. “Soaps need to take note of this and look into their intentions more deeply.”
Apart from James Reynolds, there are only a handful of black actors and actresses that have prominent roles in daytime television. Reynolds said he most respects fellow black actors “Kristoff St. John
[The Young and the Restless
] and [Days of our Lives
costar] Renée [Jones], obviously, but also One Life to Live
's Timothy Stickney, who unfortunately is back burner most of the time. It's a shame, really, because he's so talented. These three actors represent their shows, their profession and their cultures with such class, wisdom and talent.”
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: TV Guide.ca
(Image Courtesy of NBC)