Though the television cop drama features two women in the lead role, one black and one Hispanic, Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, who both star in and produce the show, say they took the diversity initiative a step further by trickling it on down to the production staff.
Speaking with Fox News, the two actresses explained that pushing diversity behind the camera was a cornerstone value they wanted to promote on the show. Alba even went as far as to say she wanted to see more productions where people are “openly parenting.”
“You really didn’t see too many productions where people are openly parenting,” she said. “I was breastfeeding my son when I joined the show, and then Gab had her daughter, and then our two showrunners, who are dads, they’re hands-on dads. On top of that, we really wanted to have more diversity in the writer’s room. We wanted to have people who have these incredible talents come forth.”
Alba said the writing staff became “mostly women” who were “very young” because they broke from tradition by accepting blind submissions.
“If you truly level the playing field, you can actually have productions that mirror Los Angeles with all of its beautiful diversity, and all of the talented people that traditionally never get a shot, are gonna actually get a shot. Those are actually going to be the best people for the job,” said Union.
“Telling a story about Los Angeles with a completely homogeneous writer’s room or production, that’s actually not accurate storytelling … we just wanted to address that, and honestly, it wasn’t hard at all,” she continued.
The show aims to be a spin-off of Union’s character from the “Bad Boys” franchise, Syd Burnett, and her move from Miami to Los Angeles. Union promised that the show will make Los Angeles a third character in the movie.
“We wanted to make LA the third lead, if you will, to really showcase some of the neighborhoods that don’t always get the love on other shows,” said Union. “And we just wanted to show the beauty of all the diversity that is LA.”
Alba promised that women on the show will “kick butt, take names, [and] crack jokes”
“We never lose our cool,” she said. “We’re always doing the thing, and when we do have those moments when we need someone, we don’t need a guy to save us, we save each other.”
Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released its new guidelines for inclusion, which dictated that movies must meet a diversity threshold, employing specific minority individuals in front of or behind the camera to qualify for Best Picture.
“Those standards require one of the following: at least one of the lead actors or significant supporting actors is from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group; at least 30% of all actors in secondary and more minor roles are from certain underrepresented groups; or the main storyline, theme or narrative is centered on an underrepresented group,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“To be eligible for best picture, a film must meet at least two standards across four categories: ‘Onscreen Representation, Themes and Narratives,’ ‘Creative Leadership and Project Team,’ ‘Industry Access and Opportunities’ and ‘Audience Development.’ Within each category are a variety of criteria,” it continued.
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