Watch Niecy Nash Explain Onscreen Diversity to Chelsea Handler

On the latest episode of Chelsea, Chelsea Handler invited Niecy Nash, Jill Soloway, and Kate Beckinsale to come on and talk about diversity in Hollywood and as usual, Nash was the most compelling person in the room.


Handler’s message was fairly upbeat, even going so far as to suggest that maybe Trump’s election has been pushing people to increase media diversity in response. In the clip above, Nash related a story about how while on the set of Claws, her stand-in was thrilled to see not only a black lead, but a black showrunner, black director, a black EP—and a white woman kneeling at Nash’s feet to put on her shoes. She was the costumer, not just a fan.

But in another moment, Nash reflected that things haven’t changed enough.

“There was a point when you knew, if you were going it out it was just gonna be the sassy black dot dot dot—sassy black neighbor, sassy black mama, sassy black friend,” Nash said. “It was just one note.”


“But by the way, you are that girl,” Handler stupidly interjects.

“I’m a lot of girls,” responds Nash, to applause, then continues. “The one thing that I will say is what I get all the time now is that because of Taraji and Viola and Kerry, ‘Things have changed. Now everything is okay.’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s not.’ That is progress, and I love seeing my black and brown sisters on TV—but there are so many other women in the world besides black and white women. Whose stories are not being told.”

“Like who?” asked Handler.

“Well, I mean Asian woman, Indian women, Muslim women. A lot of women,” Nash explained. Handler suggested Soloway make Muslim women the subject of her next show, and Soloway deadpans that she’s already on it. We’ll see, but at least Nash is thinking about experiences outside her own point of view.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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Niecy Nash’s run in Getting On (HBO) broke that “cast her as the sassy girlfriend/office big mouth, etc” mold she’s referring to for her. I don’t ever remember her doing a series without all the trademark glamour trappings (hair, full makeup, lashes, etc) - and she was gorgeous in just scrubs. She was real and poignant and funny and understated, and while the role could have been cast with an actress of any ethnicity, she made it so hers I just fell in love. Too bad it was (contractually from the start) only a three season run.

That was the show that proved she can do it all - and do it well. I haven’t seen Claws yet (Plan on bingeing it), but I would love to see her in a high-quality feature comedy. She could carry the type of big comedy that Cher, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg or Diane Keaton used to make, and made billions for the studios, before they forgot that market is out here and eager for product.