‘Golden Girls’: All-Black female cast for one virtual night

‘The Golden Girls’ remake starring Tracee Elis Ross, Regina King, Sanaa Lathan, and Alfre Woodard. Photo courtesy @thatgrapejuice on Twitter

Four golden women from the mid-80s to early 90s made a cultural shifting comeback on Tuesday night for a live table read of “The American Sitcom —The Golden Girls.” The rendition featured an all-Black cast for one night on Zoom’s new web series “Zoom Where it Happens.” The virtual series was launched by Black women in Hollywood bringing awareness to the 2020 Census, racial justice, and voting rights every Tuesday night until the Nov. 3 election.

The rendition, directed by Gine Prince-Bythewood, recast the black actresses: Regina King, Tracee Elis Ross, Sanaa Lathan and Alfre Woodard. Ross, who first announced the iconic sitcom’s reboot on Instagram, stepped into Betty White’s shoes to star as Rose. As King reenacted Dorothy (initially played by Estelle Getty), Lathan performed as Blanche (acted initially by Rue McClanahan), and Woodard represented Sophia (originally starred by Bea Arthur).

The live event reimagining the all-Black golden girls was produced essentially to promote change for all minorities by filling out the 2020 Census and spotlight the nation’s largest online racial justice organization — Color of Change.

“Thank you so much, everyone, for being here. We appreciate you. You could’ve been anywhere else in the world. You came to kick it with us here tonight. This was amazing,” said the host of the event, Lena Waithe. “This is what we can do when we come together. Again, unity is our greatest weapon against depression. Let’s always remember that. Be kind to each other, love on each other, and fill out the census form,” Ross said.

The hour-long virtual show was free for all to watch with an electronic device but became over-capacity within the first ten minutes. The women dressed true to their character did a reenactment of the original series’ episode, the “Flu,” which brings a feel of comedic relief relating to the global pandemic, COVID-19, peculiarly stronger than the flu.

The rendition was not only for entertainment purposes as the show’s start and end conversed about bringing awareness to participating in the 2020 Census that is due on Sept. 30. The all-Black cast stressed how this was not only crucial to the Black community but all minorities across the nation.

The all-Black Golden Girls episode one on Zoom. Screenshot by Kailyn Rhone

“In COVID, when people got sick, and they had to go three hours to a clinic or a hospital if you get counted, that determines the 1.3 trillion dollars in federal funds that dispense to everybody,” said Woodward, the 67-year-old actress. “I’ll tell you who is undercounted: communities of color, black, brown, indigenous, pacific islanders. Because we have a history of being kind of duped by the government, but this is totally solid.”

Rightfully so, people of color are systematically miscounted in the Census. According to Forbes, since 1940, the Census misses one in every 12 black residents; many claims this will not be improved in the future.

The 2020 Census is on track to be the most egregious undercount of minorities in the history of the Census,said Andrew McCaskill, SiriusXM, Culture + Economics contributor in a Forbes’ article. “In order to accurately count Black residents the government has to make a compelling case to African Americans who are unfamiliar with the Census to participate in an era of epic lack of public trust. That kind of education, awareness and trust should have begun with well funded multichannel engagement campaigns over a year ago, and it didn’t.”

Encouragingly, the “Blackish” and “Girlfriends” star, Ross, reassured and explained to the attendees that none of their personal information would be misused.

“All there is a lot of misinformation out there, and that is on purpose. They are trying to dissuade you and make you think that it’s scary. None of your information used for the Census can be used for anything but the Census, and there’s a fine of like 2,500 dollars if it’s used incorrectly. That information is safe,” Ross said at the live event.

While the event was for a charitable cause, some fans weren’t as ecstatic for a remake of their favorite classic show. Some even question if the remake was cultural appropriation. However, most were dissatisfied with how the episode was not an actual reboot series regarding how the media seemingly portrayed it.

As some fans want creators to leave the classics alone, many people overall crave an actual reboot series of the “Golden Girls,” reimagining an all-Black cast, a cast similar or exact to these four Black women.