I didn’t start watching Bridgerton when it aired on Netflix, I was a few weeks late to the party. To be honest, I don’t even remember why I decided to watch it in the first place. But then I pressed play and got hooked. I mean, HOOKED.
From the first second Julie Andrews started speaking, I was drawn into this beautiful depiction of Regency Era London. It had everything I want in my entertainment: a historical setting, drama, humour, wonderful music, gorgeous costumes… AND JULIE ANDREWS.
Honestly, that alone would’ve been enough to make me binge-watch the show. What really got me, however, was the casting. Usually, when it comes to historical fiction, roles for black people are very limited. When dreaming about which roles I could play in movies or series, I quickly discarded the notion of ever acting in a period piece. I just didn’t see a place for myself amongst the Bennet or Dashwood sisters. Unless it was one of the maids, of course.
And then came Bridgerton. Lords, ladies and even the Queen, portrayed by actors of colour were in every scene. It was so amazing to see people who looked like me, play parts I never thought they would.
I also immediately understood why there was backlash over the casting. The historical inaccuracy of casting people of colour in roles that they would’ve never had in the time period portrayed was simply too much for some people. They even went as far as saying that history was being rewritten. The last time I checked, the history books about Regency Era England haven’t changed and neither have the primary sources from that time.
Why is it then, that the simple presence of people of colour in spaces traditionally closed off to them, is so upsetting to some people? No one is doing any actual rewriting of history. Bridgerton is merely an interpretation of a work of fiction that happens to be set in a certain time period. It’s not changing anything, except perhaps the idea that historical nobility can only ever be portrayed by white people in fiction. Personally, I think that’s pretty neat.
With that said, where do I sign up to audition for season 2? No, seriously, tell me where. I NEED to flounce around in an empire waist dress, to a string quartet version of a pop song. Oh, and have my name in the same credits list as JULIE FREAKING ANDREWS.