The creator of ‘Friends’ is ashamed of the lack of diversity of the series

Marta Kauffman, co-creator of “Friends,” has donated $4 million to a professorship in African studies to make up for past mistakes.

At a time when the television scene seems to be making an effort to be more and more diverse and inclusivemany find it uncomfortable to point out some of their favorite series where cultural representation was conspicuous, in many cases, by its absence.

In this particular case we are talking about: friends. Although when it was released this problem has already come to light on a recurring basisthe subject was always ignored or was tried to downplay with the recurring argument of “this was television in the 90s”.

When in 2021 the anniversary of the series was celebrated with a reunion special chapter, the issue of inclusivity and representation was again avoided. Now, a year after the reunion, Martha Kauffman, co-creator of friendshas announced a $4 million donation to the Brandeis University to create a fund to support studies on Africa and the African diaspora.

Kauffman recently stated that he feels embarrassed by the lack of diversity in the well-known Friends. The sitcom The most famous of the 90s lasted 10 seasons, and revolved around the comings and goings of a group of six white and straight friends in New York City. The most prominent person of color in the cast of the series was aisha tylerwho played the love interest of Ross (David Schimmer) during nine episodes.

“I started to fight against the fact that I had participated in systemic racism in ways that I was never aware of”

Kauffman, creator of the series with David Cranehas revealed that he initially thought the criticism for lack of representation was “difficult and frustrating«. But after all the events and social movements that occurred in 2020 -specifically the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police-, she made her have a much clearer vision of the worrying problem.

Ross (David Schimmer) and Charlie (Aisha Tyler)

“After what happened with george floyd I started to fight against the fact having participated in systemic racism in ways I was never aware ofKauffman said. “That was the moment when I started to examine the ways in which I had participated. That’s when I knew I had to correct course.”

friends was issued from 1994 to 2004 and starred Schimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc as the main group of friends. Kauffman added: “I have learned a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting blame is not easy. It is painful to look in the mirror. I’m ashamed I didn’t know 25 years ago«.

“In every production I do I want to be aware of and hire people of color, and actively seek out young writers of color.”

Her way of starting to correct course, as Kauffman herself said, has been by donating 4 million dollars to the Brandeis University to create the Marta F. Kauffman 78′ Chair of African and African American Studies. The fund is intended to support a scholarship recipient who is dedicated to studying Africa and the African diaspora. A fund that will also help the university hire more experts and professors, as well as offer new opportunities to current students.

“I feel like I’ve finally been able to make some difference in the conversation,” Kauffman continued. “I want to make sure that from now on every production I do is mindful of hiring people of color and actively looking for young writers of color. From now on I will act differently. And then I will feel free of burdens.

Written by Serialized (@serialized) in July 2022.

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