Sprina Fans Have Concerns Over ABC/GH’s Handling of Race… They Have Good Reason

Sprina Fans Have Concerns Over ABC/GH’s Handling of Race… They Have Good Reason

ABC Daytime Has Not Been Great To BIPOC

Sprina Has Potential, Fans Do Not Want To Be Let Down

Sprina has the potential to make changes- at least as a first step. The potential for this couple to have a positive impact on ’GH’ as a whole can’t be overstated. While I am not a member of the BIPOC community, I am an ally who grew up in a diverse community. Representation is an important issue for me. As soap opera historian, the diverse representation of characters in daytime is something I continue to study and research. However, the impact is on those in the community directlty- I want to make sure I speak to the issues but not for the members of the community. Any opinions, any observations, concerns, comments that the community has- I hope you share them. This is your experience, I’d like to hear it.

‘GH’ Has A Spotty Record in Diversity

While GH has made moves to hire characters of color, and they are utilized- it doesn’t undo the decades of failure to follow through. ABC has created a gap of trust with Black viewers. That trust gap has been made worse by unforced errors. Failing to to showcase any of the Black cast members in promotional materials multiple times despite the uproar on social media. Doing so again with a cast photo containing only white, fair-skinned, the majority of which were Blonde with the title ”The Women of Port Charles- may have pushed some viewers too far. And its made many viewers very skeptical that ABC has any intention for the Sprina coupling to take off.

While ’General Hospital’ has gone through a transformation in hiring and writing stories for Black performers, there is room for improvement. Still, the soap has a bigger cast of color than ever before. Unfortunately, GH still has glaring issues in its handling of racial disparity- and it comes from the soap’s history.

Character of Gia Written Out After Recast

ABC Daytime and ‘GH’ have a history of interracial romances being sidestepped when characters of the same race comes into play. This was the case with Nikolas and Gia, who were incredibly popular during the early 2000s. When the actress , Marisa Ramirez, was recast with Andrea Pearson things quickly shifted. The couple was broken up to make way for Emily and Nikolas- Gia simply faded off canvas.

Marisa Ramirez was cast by ABC as Gia Campbell for her exotic looks. From what I can gather, she was not written to be Black until it was decided she could pass for Taggert’s sister. The actress is Hispanic and Native American, not of African descent. Ramirez was on contract and simply did as she was told. She even was nominated for an NAACP Image Award- and was front and center. When Amanda Pearson took on the role, the way the character was handled was jarringly different.

Renee Elise Goldsberry Placed In Coma Despite Popularity

In 2005, Renee Elise Goldsberry, the Tony Award Winner who eventually would star in ‘Hamilton’ , played Evangeline Williamson on ‘One Life To Live’. The actress was nominated at the Daytime Emmys for Supporting Actress in 2005 and 2007. Her character was eventually paired with Michael Easton’s John McBain in an interracial romance, a pairing which proved popular. The couple was broken up and Easton was paired with Melissa Archer (who is white).

Goldsberry’s character ended up paired with Trevor St. John’s Todd Manning which became an unexpected sensation. The couple was broken up to limit any damage to the Todd/Blair pairing. With her popularity rising and her contract up, the negotiations became heated.Negotiations quickly fell apart, as a result her character was put into a coma after being targeted by white supremacists (!). Evangeline remained in her coma and died off-screen in 2010.

‘GH’ Did Not Give Vinessa Antoine The Option to stay

‘GH’ has show a general lack of respect for the show’s Black characters has been a concern. This disrespect was confirmed when Vinessa Antoine’s exit in 2018, was not planned. Antoine assumed she would be off-screen until shooting of ‘Diggstown’, a Canadian production wrapped in a few months. Producers let her know she was a necessary character and would need to be recast.

Antoine later told The Watercooler in an interview:

In my experience, I don’t think that the others have the capacity to want to do that or see the importance of doing that. Some people use to make the joke, “General Hospital? Generally White Hospital.” It’s a generally white show. That’s just the way it is. I think that if you get hired on that show as a person of colour, you do the best you can. It’s good work. But, you’re not going to be someone who is on the forefront

Vinessa Antoine, 2020 interview

What does this have to do with Sprina?

While GH has made moves to hire characters of color, and they are utilized- it doesn’t undo the decades of failure to follow through. ABC has created a gap of trust with Black viewers. That trust gap has been made worse by unforced errors. Failing to to showcase any of the Black cast members in promotional materials multiple times despite the uproar on social media. Doing so again with a cast photo containing only white, fair-skinned, the majority of which were Blonde with the title ”The Women of Port Charles- may have pushed some viewers too far. And its made many viewers very skeptical that ABC has any intention for the Sprina coupling to take off.

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Sprina Saturdays & Sundays

Starting this weekend , I will be writing posts about the #Sprina storyline and fan movement- at least one every Saturday or Sunday. The posts will discuss the storylines, recent episodes, spoilers, the actors, speculation, etc- but focusing on #Sprina.

The second part of each post will be sharing the concerns about the handling of diversity. Whether it be the history of GH’s Black characters, the relationship with Black viewers and treatment of Black cast and outlining opportunities that the show and network have to do better. The goal is to keep the conversation going, so I want your feedback please!


Share your opinions on this topic. This is OUR soap opera on the screen. But how it impact you, that’s your story to tell- I’d like to hear it.

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