On May 6, NBC and Lilly Singh announced that “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” is ending after its two-season run.
The reason for the show's cancellation was said to be struggling ratings, due to its 1:30 A.M. time slot.
In a statement posted to Instagram, Singh said that “[she has] a desire to make longer form content telling underrepresented stories, which is difficult to execute on a nightly show.”
Singh made a historic mark by being the first and only woman of colour to host a late-night network TV talk show.
While fans may be disappointed to no longer see her in the late-night role, in the statement about the show’s end, Singh announced that she has signed a deal with Universal Television Alternative Studio and is set to star in a brand new Netflix comedy series that she is developing alongside Kenya Barris.
Barris is best known as creator of the ABC sitcom Black-ish, which has received a great deal of critical acclaim and has gone on to have two spin-off series, including Grown-ish and Mixed-ish.
But through the show’s successes, many have criticized Barris for his lack of depth in showcasing the Black experience.
In a piece written for The Atlantic, Shamira Ibrahim’s analyzes Barris’ television portfolio stating that “it’s not clear whether [Barris is] critiquing the inherently flawed premise of analyzing “Blackness” solely in its relationship to white supremacy, or whether he’s just capitulating to the “white gaze” of Hollywood. And without an express motive or a fixed frame of reference, it’s difficult to grasp Barris’ target audience.”
In this sense, Barris and Singh have many parallels, with both lacking complexity or depth to generate content that is niche enough to genuinely serve the Black and brown audiences that they claim to proudly represent.
Both creators possess a quality in their work that prioritizes accessibility, but disparages their credibility as creators of colour.
It is a common criticism that BIPOC artists face as their fame is often birthed out of the motivation from today’s entertainment culture to give off the aura of diversity and inclusivity, on a mere surface level.
Longevity in the industry is reliant on suppressing the very qualities that shape an individual’s Black or brown identity.
For that reason, Barris and Singh’s pairing truly comes as no surprise.
They both are emblematic of Hollywood artists that cannot forsake being people of colour and therefore must exercise a “white voice” that can keep them in a position of acceptance, but utilize their skin to their advantage when trying to earn the affections of their own.
Social media has already gone on to make their jokes that the upcoming development from Barris and Singh will fall under Barris’ typical TV monikers and be named “Brown-ish”.
It does not feel like a stretch as Black-ish and a potential “Brown-ish” show are perfect epithets for their creators. They’re Hollywood representatives that don’t quite hit the mark of what the Black and brown experience is.
They exist in a creative limbo within an industry that only allows them in so they can be diverse-ish.
Either way, we’ll be following to see what mix the pair come up with.
Reya Rana is a UBC grad who studied Poli Sci and English language. She is really interested in writing and reading rhetorical analyses, and she enjoys all kinds of music, fashion and books that make her cry. Her pronouns are she/her. Follow her on Twiter @ReyaRana10
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