Television shows get cancelled all the time. But rarely do the stars of those shows take to social media to call out the network bosses who make those decision – much less publicly accuse them of a lack of diversity in their programming.
But that is what Zoë Kravitz did this weekend, following the news that her Hulu show, High Fidelity, was not getting renewed for a second season.
“I wanna give a shout out to my #highfidelity family,” Kravitz posted on Instagram on Friday. Thank you for all the love and heart you put into this show. I’m in awe of all of you. And thank you to everyone who watched, loved and supported us. #breakupssuck.”
Several prominent actors offered their condolences and support. “Oh I loved #HighFidelity! This is sad news.” tweeted Mindy Kaling. Reese Witherspoon responded to Kravitz’s post by writing. “I am so sad. I loved this show.” Another response came from Lena Waithe: “NOOOOOOO!!! I rarely find shows that genuinely impress me. This one did. I told you how much I loved this show. And I still do. This one definitely deserved another season.”
But it was when the actress Tessa Thompson posted her her own response to Kravitz’s post—“I will miss you alllllllllllll so much”—that Kravitz made clear her thoughts about the decision. In her reply, she wrote to Thompson, “It’s cool. At least Hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch. Oh wait.”
While Hulu has such series as Wu-Tang: An American Saga, featuring a predominantly Black cast; Ramy, starring the Emmy-nominated Muslin actor Ramy Youssef; and the recently renewed, Love, Victor, with a Latinx title character, the leads in those series are all male. The limited series Little Fires Everywhere is the only other original scripted series on Hulu featuring a Black woman, Kerry Washington, in the lead. (As of Sunday, Hulu had not responded publicly to Kravitz’s post.)
The Hulu series was based on the 1995 book of the same name by Nick Hornby and the highly regarded 2000 film adaptation starring John Cusack as Rob Gordon, the owner of a failing record store in Chicago. On the TV version, Kravitz played Robyn “Rob” Gordon, the gendered-reimagined role originally played by Cusack and the setting was moved to the gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, not far from where Kravitz herself lives.
But the character’s romantic travails remain an essential plot point. As Vogue wrote of the show’s premiere: “The heartbreaks are the same, albeit updated for a more progressive generation; she’s shot down by a procession of lovers, both male and female.” (High Fidelity also has a family connection; Kravitz’s mother Lisa Bonet starred alongside Cusack in the film version, playing his character’s ex-girlfriend.)
On an episode of Variety and iHeartRadio’s “The Big Ticket” podcast earlier this year, Kravitz had spoken about the enthusiastic fan feedback she’d gotten about “High Fidelity.”
“The amount of comments, DMs, things on Twitter, articles written about Brown women who love music, were afraid of commitment, who’ve never seen a person like them on television — they feel seen for the first time,” she said. “I have a friend who — one of his best friends loves punk music and is gay — it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m watching a gay man in a Minor Threat shirt. I’ve never seen that before.’ Just breaking away from the stereotypes, I feel like people need that. So I feel very lucky to have been able to deliver that, because one of the most important things for me was authenticity and bringing a real world to life. I’ve lived in New York for a long time, and in a lot of ways this was a love letter to New York with all its messiness and diversity.”