In season three of “The Morning Present,” a race scandal rocks UBA, the printed community that serves because the present’s backdrop. The storyline sees Karen Pittman’s Mia and Greta Lee’s Stella strikingly depict the realities of girls of colour in largely white, company areas like community tv. “That is me and Greta really, in an actual method,” Pittman tells POPSUGAR after talking on the 2024 Makers Convention on Feb. 28.

By means of characters like Mia and Nya on “And Simply Like That…,” Pittman brings unimaginable nuance to her portrayal of sturdy Black girls who navigate their race of their respective environments, which she opened up about in dialog with “Succession” actor J. Smith-Cameron. The 2 spoke on the three-day summit hosted by Makers, a community-focused media model owned by Yahoo that is targeted on accelerating fairness for girls within the office.

“I pleasure myself on having characters that do not resemble me as an actor.”

For Pittman, identity-driven storytelling is inherently intentional. “I feel the storytellers and writers are all the time on the lookout for methods to imbue your private, genuine perspective, no matter you’ve got been by in your life,” she says. However for the actor and activist, that authenticity is much less about sharing her lived experiences and extra about bringing advanced feelings to her characters. “I pleasure myself on having characters that do not resemble me as an actor,” she explains. “I do not see any of myself in Mia, and I hope to by no means see any of myself.”

THE MORNING SHOW, from left: Greta Lee, Karen Pittman, 'White Noise', (Season 3, ep. 303, aired Sept. 20, 2023). photo: Erin Simkin /Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett CollectionTHE MORNING SHOW, from left: Greta Lee, Karen Pittman, 'White Noise', (Season 3, ep. 303, aired Sept. 20, 2023). photo: Erin Simkin /Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection
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As a substitute, she “influences the storytelling” by making certain there’s depth to her characters. “I remind [writers], ‘Let’s be sure that we present the center of this character as a substitute of simply exhibiting she’s a robust girl.’ That may find yourself being a trope,” she says. She likes to create characters by their “emotional panorama” particularly. “Understanding what the center of that girl is and with the ability to convey that to the digicam visually is basically the place I really feel like the best affect I’ve as an actor in any story. That’s what makes an viewers join.”

With a high-powered, unbiased TV producer like Mia, she’s targeted on channeling vulnerability, a top quality not typically related to Black girls on display screen. “The writers of [‘The Morning Show’] are all the time hoping to replicate again the power and the nimbleness of African American girls,” she says. “Generally that may be one-sided, so I am all the time attempting to infuse moments of fragility, softness, tenderness, and suppleness of what it means to be a girl in that job, in the identical ways in which you would possibly see a white girl in these jobs.”


On the subject of Nya, Miranda’s professor-turned-friend on “And Simply Like That…,” it was essential to Pittman — and creator Michael Patrick King — that she put on her hair in braids. As she places it, “I feel you will need to replicate, particularly on that platform, what it’s to have an African American girl who fully accepts her naturalness, who is not attempting to vary or look completely different, who’s embodying this assemble of Blackness fully, and has determined that she’s going to reside in a spot of affection and schooling — and to share that intelligence on the present.” Pittman additionally understands that Nya’s friendship with Miranda permits the chance to point out viewers what it appears to be like like for a girl of colour to construct a relationship with a white girl who might not know another WOC. That is particularly impactful in a sequence with a lot fanfare and generational reputation.

However whereas she’s capable of begin conversations about her characters in some methods, she additionally acknowledges the challenges that include being a Black girl within the performing world. In her dialog with Smith-Cameron, Pittman make clear Hollywood’s cultural reckoning in response to George Floyd’s homicide by police in 2020. Whereas there was an preliminary shift within the business, she believes it is since reverted again to the established order.

“My white colleagues do not should have these conversations.”

“Persons are forgetful,” she tells POPSUGAR. “Folks overlook, and as an actor, you do not need to all the time have your finger on the heart beat of tradition attempting to show them or remind them, ‘Hey, we have to pump some life into this.’ My white colleagues do not should have these conversations.”

As with girls of colour in any discipline, she’d wish to solely concentrate on the job at hand: performing. “I might love to enter an expertise the place the one factor that I am known as to do is to carry the complete breadth of my craft and never should concern myself with the rest,” she says. However, as she reminds us, that is the truth for any othered particular person in our society.

As Pittman underscored in her dialog with Smith-Cameron, “the system is damaged,” and he or she is aware of it will take time for the business to progress. However what she will be able to do is collaborate with allies to advocate for the tales and characters they really feel are essential. “I need to be a human that builds coalition, that retains frequent floor,” she tells POPSUGAR. “One of many causes I like portraying these characters is as a result of they’ve their hand out for connection; they’re reflecting again to the tradition. There may be house for all of us. Definitely in my profession, as a mom, as a human being, that’s the method I’m on this planet.”

She’s additionally eager for change. “In the event you’re an actor or when you’re an artist, you might be an optimist and an activist,” she says. “And when you’re an activist or an optimist, you imagine that humanity can do one thing completely different.”

Yerin Kim is the options editor at POPSUGAR, the place she helps form the imaginative and prescient for particular options and packages throughout the community. A graduate of Syracuse College’s Newhouse College, she has over 5 years of expertise within the popular culture and ladies’s way of life areas. She’s enthusiastic about spreading cultural sensitivity by the lenses of way of life, leisure, and magnificence.