If you ever wondered why the melanin was missing on Friends you’re not alone.
David Schwimmer, who played Ross on the iconic 90s sitcom, revealed that he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that when it came to his character’s dating life, he always seemed to choose White woman. That’s until the actor spoke up about it.
“I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color,” he said during an interview with the U.K.’s The Guardian.
Schwimmer also claimed his attempts actually impacted the little racial diversity that viewers saw during the series’ 10 year run on NBC.
“One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part,” said the actor.
Two of the Black women his character fell for were portrayed by Gabrielle Union and Aisha Tyler. Union appeared briefly in the show’s seventh season, describing the experience in her book, We’re Going To Need More Wine. Tyler was given a multi-episode arc in the show’s ninth season thanks to color-blind casting.
During his interview, Schwimmer also acknowledged the need for people of color to be the center of stories as well.
“Maybe there should be an all-Black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he said, perhaps not realizing that the president of NBC Warren Littlefield at the time said that his favorite series was Living Single, starring Queen Latfiah. Shortly afterward, Friends premiered on his network.
“I’m very aware of my own privilege as a heterosexual White male whose parents were able to pay for a private education for me. I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to give back and to call things out if I see an abuse of power,” he continued. “That’s the environment I grew up in.”
Schwimmer noted that his mother, who he described as a “very vocal, groundbreaking feminist activist lawyer” and actor would often take him to watch productions that advocated for women’s rights and gay rights.
Turns out Ross was woke. Who knew?