May 25, 2024

Wednesday Star Joy Sunday On Netflix’s Show’s Representation Of Black Beauty

Debuting on Netflix in November, Wednesday – a spin-off of The Addams Family – has enjoyed huge success. Accumulating 341. 23 million hours of viewing time, it quickly overtook the record set by Stranger Things.

On TikTok, the hashtag #Wednesday has amassed 20. 9 billion views, with fans recreating Jenna Ortega’s iconic dance rehashed to the tune of Bloody Mary by Lady Gaga, sharing fan edits of their favourite characters and channelling Wednesday’s signature black wardrobe. The excitement is palpable.

And now, we’ve been given an insight into behind the scenes on the hit show via actress Joy Sunday on our favourite podcast, Reign with Josh Smith

After starring in the second most-watched English speaking show on Netflix, Joy discusses how the show arrived at a tough point in her career and how playing the role of Bianca has given her a newfound confidence. Joy also responds to the online backlash about the characterisation of the black  characters on Wednesday and how proud that her character Bianca has given black girls an important role model on screen that she wished she had when she was growing up…

Joy on the online backlash about the characterisation of black character on Wednesday the ‘knee  jerk’ reaction to her character and how race plays a part in the perception of her character in  Wednesday

“I appreciate the dialogue, I appreciate those conversations because I believe that kind of discourse  has brought me to where I am. It’s brought Bianca to life, and I always think that there’s room for  improvement for any kind of characters, for any characters of colour, queer characters. I think  people should always have these discussions. That said, I think when it was starting to crop up, I felt  that people’s reaction was understandable, the knee jerk reaction to seeing me go up against  Wednesday. You have to raise an eyebrow and say, ‘what’s going on here,’ and really examine it. But  I think people were more so reacting to the fact that they were seeing a black woman be so  confident and so sure of herself going up against somebody who they’re supposed to root for and  not really understanding what to do with that. Obviously you see Bianca grow throughout the series,  and so if you stay with the character, you understand. And I think that’s honestly emblematic of a lot  of things that black women can experience in life. And so at the end of the day, I appreciate that  people were talking about it, and I hope it continues quite honestly. But regardless, you had to walk  with Bianca to understand her. And I hope those people were able to get to that point. ”

Joy reflecting on finding self-love as a teenager and how grateful she is to see her character  reinforcing beauty positivity on screen for young black women and girls

“A lot of the things, especially black women and black girls have reached out and expressed that  they love about Bianca, is the fact that I’m dark-skinned and I have these features that they’re not  used to having short hair. These are all things that I was made fun of for when I was younger. So to  have that broadcast as the most beautiful or the most popular in school is really a 180 in my life  experience. I have to say this journey of self-love started around that age when I was 13, 14 — I had  no understanding of my beauty, of my inner beauty as well, and I would have to say going back  home to Nigeria and then going to Brazil were actually two points at which I really encountered an  appreciation for myself and appreciation for my skin tone, appreciation for people who looked like  me, for my culture. That’s when I had that awakening and I’m so grateful that I went to those two  places and really was able to connect with a love for myself. I couldn’t seek that in the world as it  existed then. But I’m so happy a character like Bianca exists now and I’m not saying that’s the be all  of it, but I’m really grateful to have had those experiences because I certainly needed to arrive at  that point by myself and didn’t necessarily have that outside validation for quite a long time. ”

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