Essence.com | Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV

EXCLUSIVE: Nicole Beharie on Her New Show, ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ Being Black on Primetime TV | Essence.com.

“ESSENCE: It’s so great to see a Black woman on prime time as the lead. Besides Kerry Washington, there’s you. Pressure?

NB: Yes, I think you just put the pressure on. [Laughs] My shoulders just fell. One thing I have considered is that the success of a show like Scandal and [Kerry’s] presence and Shonda Rhimes has opened up the minds of studios and executives. They know it’s possible. Even before that I liked Living Single. To me, all those shows were proof that of course it’s possible. Not only is it possible, but extremely entertaining and enriching.”

“I’m 5’1’’ and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would hire me to play the cop. There’s a certain demographic of girls who look the same in every action piece and I didn’t think that that was going to be me. I’ve always been a big sci-fi person. I love fantasy, so when the opportunity presented itself I wanted to take a shot at this. Getting to hold a gun and running away from witches and incantations…there’s so much more that you’re going to see in the season that just doesn’t really fit into what I keep seeing on Twitter or what I keep hearing some people saying like ‘Yes, you’re the Black person who doesn’t die.’ A lot of people were like, ‘You’re going to die soon right?’ and I’m like I don’t know you have to watch. I haven’t died. It’s kind of a joke in the community like we always die within 20 minutes.”

Nicole Beharie is my new favorite person. She like sci-fi/fantasy, is a black nerd girl it seems, and I love her voice. I’m so excited that there is another black female lead, and as she says, the success of this show and Scandal will show producers and networks that choosing a black lead works. People will watch it (Sleepy Hollow and Scandal are doing extraordinarily well). I can’t wait to see what this inspires next.

I, for one, am very happy that this is a sci-fi/fantasy show, a realm you don’t get to see many black people (or black females) act in (outside of an ethnic magical person or wacky disbelieving sidekick) so black girls like me can know that black people do like sci-fi, we do like fantasy, we do act in these things and it’s ok to write them and explore them.

This show is making me very happy.

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