As Girls enters its sixth and final series, Lena Dunham has reiterated her regret over the cult hit’s lack of racial diversity.
Girls, created by Dunham and launched in 2012, follows the imperfect lives of four white girls growing up in New York. It has soared in popularity since its inception and has been hailed as “era-defining”, but its racial problem has not gone unnoticed by critics.
In an interview with Nylon magazine, Dunham said: “I wouldn’t do another show that starred four white girls.
“That being said, when I wrote the pilot I was 23. Each character was an extension of me. I thought I was doing the right thing.
“I was not trying to write the experience of somebody I didn’t know, and not trying to stick a black girl in without understanding the nuance of what her experience of hipster Brooklyn was.”
The second series of Girls saw Dunham cast Golden Globe-winning actor Donald Glover to play her African American boyfriend, but some said the casting was still misguided. Under the headline “Why Girls Won’t Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem“, The Atlantic’s Judy Berman wrote in 2013: “Dunham continues to cast non-white actors only when race defines their character – which is to say, she still doesn’t get it.”
This is not the first time Dunham has spoken on the subject, in response to criticism for its so-called ‘whitewashing’. In 2015, Dunham told The Hollywood Reporter, “I had been thinking so much about sort of representing weirdo girls and chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women who were being underserved.”
In Dunham’s other creative endeavours, she strives to include a diverse range of voices, namely in her newsletter, Lenny Letter, and her podcast, Women Of The Hour.
We can expect the final series to carry influences of the US election, and to have taken Donald Trump’s win into account: “I don’t mean to be demurring, but there are some big female issues, more than maybe ever before.”
Speaking about Girls finally coming to an end, Dunham said: “I’m probably going to have a nervous crying breakdown.”