‘Riverdale’ Actress Bernadette Beck Says She Was Only Hired to Hive the Illusion of Diversity


Archie comics, and by extension Riverdale, are extremely white. Archie Comics has tried to make their comics more diverse, introducing characters like Chuck Clayton and Kevin Keller, but most of the characters date back to the 1930s, which is part of why they’re so well-known. The problem that creates, though, is that the 30s were very white and straight.

And Riverdale may be even worse about it than the comic books. For example, Chuck Clayton, who in the comics is a sweet kid that hangs out with Archie and Jughead, was basically a villain in the first season of Riverdale and while he was redeemed and shown to have become a better person in the second season, he hasn’t been on since. That’s not a great way to handle your franchise’s most prominent African-American character.

After cutting Chuck out of the show, a character called Peaches ‘N Cream was brought in, played by Bernadette Beck, who told Elle she feels like she “was just there to fulfill a diversity quota.”

“I was completely forgotten in the scene more than once,” Beck says. “The director [would] be walking off set and I’d have to chase them down because I had no idea where to stand, what to do—I just hadn’t been given any instruction. You can’t treat people like they’re invisible and then pat yourself on the back for meeting your diversity quota for the day.”

Let me tell you the extent to which she’s absolutely right about just having been hired to stand in the background and be someone they can point to when the show is accused of not being diverse enough. I have seen every episode of Riverdale. I’m not a huge fan of it but the ongoing storyline is compelling enough that I want to know what’s going to happen next.

I had no idea who Peaches ‘N Cream was. So I googled her, looked at her picture and read what she did on the show and I still have no idea who she is.

“I get it, there’s always a protagonist and antagonist, but I never had much of a story plot or enough character development to even be considered an antagonist,” Beck says. “I was, for no reason, depicted in a very negative, unattractive light. And I’m not the first Black actress to show up on set, stand there, chew gum, and look sassy and mean. I feel like I was just there to fulfill a diversity quota. It’s just to fulfill points.”

Apparently a lot of fans really didn’t like her which shocked me because, again, I thought she was an extra or something.

The important thing is not to fall for performative diversity. You’re seeing more and more of it, where brands and TV shows go out of their way to seem diverse or like they support certain political things but it’s all marketing. Riverdale very clearly doesn’t care about diversity, they just care about people thinking they’re diverse and writing articles about how many non-white actors they have in the backgrounds of shots. If you want to make a show that’s all about white people, go ahead, basically every other TV show does it and it doesn’t matter. People talked about how unrealistically white Friends was while it was still on the air and 52 million people tuned in for the finale. Just don’t try to market yourself as diverse unless you actually want to be.

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2 years ago