|Posted by Donald Peebles on August 28, 2010 at 3:11 PM|
It was no surprise that Tika Sumpter wasn't going to be on "One Life to Live" on contract past 2010. I thought she would've been long gone. I was surprised she was given a new lease on life when her character, Layla Williamson, was paired up with Cristian Vega, played by David Fumero. I thought since David resigned with "One Life to Live", Tika would have stayed, but she decided to go recurring because she wanted to do film projects. It sounds good in soap opera magazines, websites, and blogs but I think Tika realized "One Life to Live" head writer Ron Carlivati simply didn't know how to write for Layla. If I was on the head writing team, I would advocate for exploring Layla's past in Los Angeles. There are many possibilities with writing a story surronding Layla's Los Angeles past. I wonder what drove her there in the first place. Was it due to Lisa's favoritism of Evangeline over Layla? Well, we will never know since the only African-American adult female on the canvas is now recurring.
This reminds me of Tonya Lee Williams, who was bumped to recurring status on "The Young and the Restless" as Dr. Olivia Barber Hastings Winters. Tonya stated she became too busy with projects with the Toronto Black Film Festival. I simply believe daytime head writers really don't know how to write for dark-skinned actresses whereas they have possibilities for brown and light-skinned actresses whenever the opportunity rises up. With the exception of Debbi Morgan, who demands respect and equity in daytime as a Daytime Emmy winner for her role as Dr. Angie Hubbard on "All My Children", darker-skinned actresses such as Tonya Lee, Tika, Shenell Edmonds (Destiny Evans, "One Life to Live"), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany Johnson, "General Hospital"), Kent King (Dr. Lainey Winters, "General Hospital"), Aloma Wright (Nurse Maxine, "Days of Our Lives"), and Julia Pace-Mitchell (Sofia Dupre, "The Young and the Restless") don't really get the accolades like their lighter-skinned counterparts Christel Khalil-Hensley (Lily Winters Ashby, "The Young and the Restless"), Renee Jones (Dr. Lexie Carver, "Days of Our Lives"), Denise Vasi (Randi Hubbard, "All My Children"), Shannon Kane (Natalia Fowler, "All My Children"), and Annie Ilonzeh (Maya Ward, "General Hospital"). I know some would disagree with me on bringing up the dark skin-light skin "thang" or the color complex but it does exist. The majority of daytime soap opera casting directors are Caucasian so they are casting African-Americans accordingly to the kind of characters they are. Middle America has to be comfortable with seeing "certain" kinds of African-Americans on television sets in their homes.
I believe the reason why "The Young and the Restless" thrived off the Winters family and some other African-American characters throughout the 1990s and 2000s was because Victoria Rowell, Kristoff St. John, Shemar Moore, Christel Khalil-Hensley, Adam Lazarre-White, Wanda Acuna, Siena Goines, Bryton James, and Ben Watkins were either light-skinned or biracial. I read an article about the color complex being played out on "The Young and the Restless" in Soap Opera Weekly. Unfortunately, Tonya Lee Williams was the one who got the raw end of the color spectrum on daytime television.
I believe Tika saw the same writing on the wall and realized OLTL simply didn't have room for dark-skinned Layla Williamson once her browner-skinned and assimilated sister, Evangeline, was taken off life supprt out of her coma. Let's face it: Layla was just there in Llanview as Evangeline's kid sister and nothing more. It is really sad to see the only African-American adult female and real African-American presence gone since Ron Carlivati punked out on the Evans family like most head writers do to African-American families on daytime all the time. I am not surprised because Destiny Evans ain't going to be there that long. No one cares about her nor her immature boyfriend, Darren Price (J.J. Singleton). Destiny is just there as a little overweight Sapphire stereotype because we all know Matthew Buchanan (Eddie Alderson) don't want her. Oh well! OLTL is simply not the same without Tika Sumpter, whom I had high hopes when she joined the soap in 2005. Oh well, Llanview is without a strong African-American woman.
Categories: One Life To Live