'Riverdale' Vanessa Morgan Says the Show is Finally Starting to Listen to Her

After calling out Riverdale for tokenizing her character, Vanessa Morgan is finally starting to see some results.

The actress recently chatted with Teen Vogue to give an update after her Twitter statement this summer, which called out Riverdale for failing to give her character Toni Topaz any depth. She told the website,

“After I vocalized my concerns a lot has changed. A lot of people are going to be super happy. I hope I’m a role model to little Black girls out there because my character is definitely going to have an amazing storyline this season, and I’m super happy about it.”

She added,

“I’m super happy that my show listened and I’m hoping a lot of other shows will follow suit for other actresses and other minorities that are feeling the same way.”


Back in June, Vanessa took to Twitter where she voiced her frustrations with the way Riverdale had handled Toni and her storylines. She wrote,

“Tired of us also being used as sidekick, non-dimensional characters to our white leads. Or only used in the ads for diversity but not actually in the show. It starts with the media. I’m not being quiet anymore.”

Now, after returning to film season 5, it looks like the show has actually taken her words to heart. Vanessa hasn’t gone into details about specifically what changes were made but, hopefully, it will all be clear once the new season premieres and we get to see Toni in action.

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Vanessa and Madelaine Petsch on set

Unfortunately, Riverdale has long been accused of tokenizing its characters of color. What started out as a diverse cast has been whittled down with most Black characters either side-lined or erased completely.

In season one, we started off with three powerful Black women playing Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) and her bandmates Melody and Valerie, aka the Pussycats. But both Pussycats disappeared by the end of season 1 and Josie was left out to dry for a few seasons until they finally moved her over to sister show Katy Keene (which was canceled after one season). Character Chuck Clayton (played by Black actor Jordan Calloway) was also kicked off the show after only six episodes in season 1.

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We truly hope that Vanessa is getting the character development and story arc she deserves in season 5 because it’s been way too long since they actually gave a Black actor on the show any sort of depth.

Riverdale season 5 is, as of now, supposed to hit the CW in January 2021 but with COVID-19 back on the rise, that isn’t set in stone.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.