Danielle Brooks On Why Intersectional Representation Is Needed In Hollywood

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There's no question that when it comes to television, there's no such thing as too much diversity. But for "Orange Is The New Black" star Danielle Brooks, we've still got a way to go when it comes to intersectionality.

The actress spoke on the need for wider representation at Netflix's Strong Female Lead panel in New York City on Thursday.

"Now you don’t only have one female lead," she explained. "You have a Hispanic female lead, you have a transgender female lead, you have black female leads. It blew my mind to be on a show — my first show out of school — where there are at least four black women that are series regulars."

danielle brooks

She later added, "We kind of tricked the world into thinking that ["Orange Is The New Black"] was centered around this white woman."

The 27-year-old also opened up about how diverse television is helping to change society's beauty ideals.

"Coming into this business right out of school I was very confused: How do I wear my hair? Do I gain weight? Do I lose weight? I can’t change my colour," she laughed. "To be on a show where they say there’s not one formula of what beauty is. You can have a hint of mocha choco-latte, you have a hint of fat back... It’s still beautiful because people are seeing themselves on TV, finally."

She later added how "Orange Is The New Black" has sparked new conversations around formerly taboo TV depictions, like casting trans actors.

danielle brooks

"[People] are changing not just how they feel about beauty, but how they feel about people who are incarcerated. They're [changing their minds] about the system and how broken it is, changing their minds on religion, or what it means to be transgender…. This show has really hit it when it comes to dealing with female [characters] in television."

But while there's definitely still work to be done when it comes to Hollywood being fully inclusive, these important conversations are always a step in the right direction.

Watch the full panel below.

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