“Girls” received considerable flack for the first season’s treatment of race. Although the HBO series takes place in Brooklyn, New York, one of the most diverse boroughs in the most ethnically diverse city in the country, the characters are all lily-white.
Lena Dunham, the show’s star, executive producer, writer and creator, told the crowd at Fortune Magazine’s annual Most Powerful Women event that she felt “heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated” despite the show’s popular and critical success.
She pledged to incorporate more characters “of color” in the second season so people “of color [can] see themselves reflected on-screen” and she’s making good on her word by casting Donald Glover (who raps under the moniker Childish Gambino).
Glover will play Dunham’s protagonist’s (Hannah’s) handsome Republican boyfriend Sandy. A review on The Hollywood Reporter reveals Dunham and Glover’s characters will directly tackle issues of race:
When Sandy calls out Hannah’s knowledge of race and its ramifications, she goes on a self-righteous, defensive rant, and Sandy says, “You just said a Missy Elliot lyric.” There are attacks on fixie bikes, rich white girls dating black men, gay iPad-using DJs, what constitutes a “pretty person’s job,” and the smug cynicism of youthful people who haven’t earned the right to it.
Though “Sandy”‘s political affiliation was revealed, perhaps in an effort to characterize him, it’s unclear if the show will address politics (it’s been apolitical thus far). Critics can at least say Dunham heard their cries about diversity by writing an interracial relationship into the plot.