Creator John Ridley is an Academy Award-winning writer and filmmaker. His TV series American Crime is one of the most critically praised tv show on television and his latest project Guerrilla is rumored to become Ridley's next award-winning production. However, according to reports, at a recent screening of his new Showtime series, creator John Ridley was in hot water for not casting Black women in prominent roles in his movie. The new series will air on Showtime and features Idris Elba, Freida Pinto, and Babou Ceesay, who all play activists in London whoa re attempting to free a political prisoner in the 1970s. But, during a screening of the new Showtime series an audience member confronted the filmmaker for only casting Black women in small roles in the series. In fact, the only black women in the series are "forced to recruit Black snitches." However, Ridley's response to the question is what sparked the controversy. “I’m not sure you quite answered the question – why are there no Black women at the forefront of the struggle? That doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect what happened in the 70s in the UK,” she said. One of the actors in the movie, Ceesay, was shocked by the question and responded by saying: “Wow, really? You know this because you read about it?” “No, we know this because our parents were a part of it,” the audience member responded. This lead to verbal disagreements among the crowd with one person reportedly saying Ridley's project is the "erasure of Black women." Ridley responded by saying:
“I said previously, I think the characters in this story are complicated across the board, so the concept that any one person is somehow better, or more elevated, or more appropriate than any other individual, I’m sorry, I don’t accept that. I don’t want to make this overly personal, but part of why I chose to have a mixed race couple at the centre of this is that I’m in a mixed race relationship. The things that are being said here, and how we are often received, is very equivalent to what’s going on right now [in the wider world>. My wife is a fighter, my wife is an activist, and yet because our races our different there are a lot of things we have to still put up with.”Ridley's response drew controversy and was best explained by Essence's Danielle Kwateng-Clark. "But what he's struggling to answer is the reality that the movement wouldn't be what we know it to be if not for Black women in the 1960s and 70s." Showtime's Guerrilla appears on Sunday, April 16th.