Erica Alexander Pens ZORA MEDIUM Letter Breaking Down Facts Behind ‘Living Single’ vs. ‘Friends’ “Beef”

Actress Erica Alexander, best known as Maxine Shaw on the wildly popular 90s FOX TV show ‘Living Single’, has penned a letter on Medium in which she meticulously breaks down the facts behind the “beef” between ‘Living Single’ and ‘Friends’ that kicked off recently on social media.

Living Single was a breakthrough show when it began airing in summer 1993. The show featured an all-Black cast that melded the issues and challenges that arise while being 20-30 somethings in the process of balancing friendships and living space among many other topics, and did so from the African-American perspective of six friends living in a Brooklyn brownstone.

In 1998, the show won half a dozen NAACP Image awards.

While it never seemed to have gotten accolades from “mainstream” critics, Living Single was beloved by Black audiences, and still is today.

During its run, many viewers of color pointed out that Friends featured virtually no Black actors or actresses.

And after Friends star David Schwimmer took to social media to suggest that, “…Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends“, Alexander moved to put her fellow actor up on the facts.

Ironically, Alexander also pointed out, Living Single had already been the Black version of ‘Friends’–and had been that 6 months before Friends even appeared on TV screens. Interestingly, Living Single, Alexander tells us, actually pre-dated Friends by a year.

In fact, Alexander writes, both Living Single and Friends were produced on the same studio lot!

Evidently, Schwimmer didn’t notice.

David Schwimmer’s and my beef started like all things nowadays… with a tweet. It was just after Sundance. A friend had sent me a link to a Guardian article, an interview with actor David Schwimmer. In it David talked about his awareness in Hollywood as a privileged, hetero, White man. To demonstrate his commitment to racial diversity he discussed his past advocacy for a more diverse cast as part of the six-person acting ensemble in his juggernaut-sitcom, Friends. Cool. In the article David talked about how he pushed his producers to cast multi-racial, romantic relationships for his character “Ross.”

“I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”

Read Erica’s Full Article HERE

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