Who would have guessed that Living Single was about to be without Maxine Shaw?
Dear White People showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser spoke for Netflix’s “Make A Scene” about the time she had to fight for her vision for her first show, Living Single, which she created. That fight revolved around keeping Maxine Shaw, the vivacious lawyer played by Erika Alexander.
“I’d have to say that the moment that I felt unseen in this business was also kind of a pivotal and career-defining moment for me. And it was the moment when I got my first set of notes on the first show I created, Living Single. And they wanted me to remove the character of Maxine Shaw from the show because she was unapologetically Black and female and fierce, and all of the things that, if I wasn’t at that time, I wanted to be ultimately,” she said. “And I knew that that would be a powerful force in the world ’cause I know that our art is, you know, our art is our activism, and I knew that that voice had been missing. And I was told to take the character out of the show in order to get the show picked up. And even though I had everything to lose, I stood my ground and said to take Maxine Shaw out of the show is to take a big part of me out of the show and I’d rather not do the show.”
Dear White People showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser talks about her fight to keep the character Maxine Shaw in Living Single (the first show she created), and using her art as activism. #MakeAScene pic.twitter.com/4C3KRl1Sud
— Dear White People (@DearWhitePeople) June 14, 2019
Thankfully, Bowser’s determination to make Living Single the way she wanted paid off and we now have a show that we still quote years later.
Dear White People‘s second season is currently streaming on Netflix.