‘Days Of Our Lives’: Fans Are Criticizing the Show’s Lack Of Diversity and Habit Of Recasting Black Actors
Although soap operas are sometimes on the leading edge of social issues, there’s one area they continue to lag behind: diversity. Days of Our Lives is no exception, and fans are calling them out over it. Is the long-running daytime series ready to address these issues?
‘Days of Our Lives’ diversity problem
Days of Our Lives has been around for nearly 56 years, and during that time many things have changed in the fictional town of Salem. But in one important way, things look pretty much the same as they did in 1965. According to IMDb, the cast is still overwhelmingly white.
Out of 18 top cast members, only one is Black. For reference, that’s a representation of 5.5%, while Black people make up 13.4% of the American population. That one actor is James Reynolds, who plays Abe Carver, and he’s the only Black cast member to have appeared in more than 2,000 episodes.
Fans have noticed this lack of diversity, and some took to Twitter to point it out. They brought up the character Theo Carver, currently played by Cameron Johnson. He’s the fourth actor to portray Theo.
“days refuses to invest in the FIRSTBLACKLEGACY character in #days history.They recast him every few of years,send him off after using him to prop others up.Theo is only young Blackman early 20’s on #days,” one fan tweeted.
Another agreed, saying, “He has such a great history and roots to build upon. A diverse cast is key to the future of the show.”
Daytime soaps and diversity
Days isn’t the only soap opera with this problem. In fact, as Soaps points out, they actually have one of the most diverse casts in the business, if you include their minor characters. They simply tend to overlook the characters of color and are quick to write them out of the show.
Last year, it was celebrated when Days had its first wedding between two Black characters. Although this was celebrated, it also made people wonder why it took almost 55 years for such a normal thing to happen on-screen.
Other soap operas display a similar lack of diversity. Critics often point out that The Bold and the Beautiful is set in the notably diverse Los Angeles fashion scene, yet the racial makeup of the cast is largely white. Likewise, The Young and the Restless has been criticized by many people, including former cast member Victoria Rowell, for a lack of diversity.
Soap operas are clearly overlooking communities of color, and they have been for a long time. Is that about to change?
Will ‘Days of Our Lives’ make a change?
The world-wide response after George Floyd’s murder in 2020 has inspired many people to consider issues of race more deeply. That change seems to have reached Days as well, according to We Are Entertainment. In an interview, Reynolds, who plays Abe Carver, said that the writers are making an effort to confront issues of race and inequity.
“And let me say that this storyline that is coming up is much more in your face about race than you’ve ever seen on Days of Our Lives, for sure, and I think probably ever seen on daytime television,” he said. “It is right there in your face. Characters you like may have different feelings and thoughts than you would expect, but that’s America.”
Hopefully, this is the start of a new era in daytime television, but only time will tell.