‘Friends’ Reimagined with All Black Cast for Charity!
You can easily argue that Friends is one of the biggest shows to have ever existed. Few shows have had such an impact on popular culture as this NBC original did. But, it does have a lack of diversity, with hardly any black actor among its cast. So, a few well renowned black artists decided to reimage Friends with an all-black cast, all for a charitable purpose!
Friends reimagined with an all-black cast
With Gabrielle Union as host, a number of famous black artists decided to reimagine Friends. It included First Wives Club star Ryan Michelle Bathe as Rachel, This Is Us‘ Sterling K Brown as Ross, and Orange Is The New Black‘s Uzo Aduba taking on the role of Phoebe. Moreover, 9-1-1‘s Aisha Hinds, Hollywood‘s Jeremy Pope, and How to Get Away with Murder‘s Kendrick Sampson were also a part of the Zoom online table read of the show.
All the actors were in separate Zoom boxes and recreated Friends‘ Season 3 episode “The One Where No One’s Ready.” Of course, due to the pandemic, they couldn’t recreate that episode as eloquently as the original. But, it wasn’t a serious undertaking anyway. They were just enjoying and having a good time.
Moreover, British singer and actress Cynthia Erivo sang the iconic theme song of Friends, ‘I’ll Be There For You’ by The Rembrandts, and it quite literally blew everyone away! Listen to it yourself:
— Brandee (@Therealbrandee) September 23, 2020
— Jeremy Pope (@jrmypope) September 23, 2020
— Jeremy Wein (@thismyshow) September 23, 2020
This event was set up to support Michelle Obama’s non-profit organization When We All Vote. And the statement of the event says that it:
“aims to catalyze voters and amplify the fight for voting rights and electoral justice, through culture and entertainment”.
Lack of diversity was a big problem on the NBC original
Apart from this event, Friends has been regularly criticized for its lack of diversity. Earlier this year, Friends co-creator Martha Kauffman also admitted that she did not do enough to hire black actors or people of color on the show. Right after her comments, a Friends actor Sherri Shepherd claimed that the show never invited her back after bringing up the lack of diversity on the show. Shepherd played the museum tour guide Ronda in the episode The One With Phoebe’s Uterus. She even sent a card to all her loved ones that she’ll be appearing on the show, writing “Friends get a little color”. TV host Jawn Murray said:
“[Shepherd] also sent that postcard to [Friends co-creator] Marta [Kauffman], and she got the postcard and [Shepherd] was never asked back on the show.”
Despite the controversies, fans can still never get enough of the sitcom. Recently, the Friends cast also had a mini-reunion at the 2020 Emmy Awards. The actresses Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, and Courtney Cox got together and gave the fans of the show a great reminder of the old times.