Wednesday’s Bianca star hits back at racism backlash

Wednesday: Netflix shares blooper reel from series

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Jenna Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams in the brand-new Addams Family series has been named one of the best TV performances of the year by millions of fans who tuned in on Netflix. The Scream star was also joined by a plethora of quirky new classmates at Nevermore Academy, one of which has recently weighed in on some surprising controversy levelled towards Tim Burton’s latest project.

Breakout star Joy Sunday has defended Bianca Barclay and Lucas Wilson (Iman Marson) against claims the portrayal of their characters is racist.

Although Wednesday has become one of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2022, some viewers took issue with the show’s most prominent black characters taking on villainous roles.

Bianca is Nevermore’s self-appointed Queen Bee and a fierce rival for Wednesday, while Lucas leads a group of bullies who terrorise her throughout the series.

Moreover, Lucas’ father owns the local theme park Pilgrim World, which glosses over the historic violence against Native Americans.

However, Joy herself has since issued a defence against the backlash, which has been particularly directed toward filmmaker Tim.

“I appreciate that dialogue,” she said. “I appreciate those conversations because I believe that kind of discourse has got me to where I am.

“It’s brought Bianca to life and I always think there’s room for improvement for any kind of character, for any kind of people of colour or queer characters. I think people should always have these discussions.”

While the actress fully understands where the criticism has come from, she insists there is much more to Bianca than a cookie-cutter foil to Jenna’s Wednesday.

“That said, when that was starting to crop up, I felt that people’s reaction was understandable,” she continued.

“The knee-jerk reaction to seeing me go up against Wednesday, you have to raise an eyebrow and say, ‘What’s going on here?’ and really examine it.”

However, Joy suggested the initial criticisms of the character were rather misguided considering how much Bianca is fleshed out over the course of the season.

On the Reign podcast with Josh Smith, she explained: “I think people were more so reacting to the fact that they were seeing a black woman being so confident and sure of herself going up against somebody they’re supposed to root for.

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“They’re not really understanding what to do with that. Obviously, you’re seeing Bianca grow throughout the series.

“If you stay with the character you understand, and honestly that’s emblematic of a lot of things black women can experience in life.”

Joy may believe some of the criticisms were unfair, but she still hopes similar conversations about on-screen representation are able to continue.

“At the end of the day I appreciate that people were talking about it,” she added. “And I hope it continues.”

“But regardless, you had to walk with Bianca to understand her, and I hope those people were able to get to that point.”

Similar criticisms have been aimed at Tim’s work in the past, though it’s important to note he is credited as a director and executive producer for the series, and did not contribute to the overall story.

Following the whirlwind success of season one, Jenna, Joy and the rest of Nevermore are already tipped to return for more mysteries within the world of the Addams Family soon.

Wednesday is available to stream on Netflix.

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