VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver based actor is making history as one of the first male leads who is apart of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) community in a Hallmark holiday film.
Antonio Cayonne says networks are starting to make space to reflect their audience a bit better.
“Hallmark is has been making a shift. I wouldn’t say that I’m their first male lead of colour. Because certainly, Hallmark has had little bits and bops, here and there with regards to different movies that were centered around black families, BIPOC families and whatnot. But typically, the entire landscape of the movie might not be completely diverse. And so that really seems to be what they’re embracing and, and pushing forward this year, which is really exciting.”
Cayonne says, although there’s been a diverse cast in the past — audiences pushed networks for change following this year’s social unrest.
“Right now it feels like we’re seeing another resurgence, certainly spearheaded by the civil rights movement that’s happening currently in the United States that started with the murder of George Floyd. And so I think that part of what’s happening right now … is I do think that a lot of people are hitting different types of breaking points where they’re starting to see the systemic oppression in different ways.
The local actor adds since markets are consumer-driven many have had to listen and hear from their audience who have been unhappy with the representation they see on screen.
“We’ve known for a long time that representation matters, representation on film and television and in the arts, certainly guides what people start to believe is possible. But now more than ever, I think that it’s it’s not on the table for discussion. It’s a statement rather than a request.”
Cayonne will be starring in Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing which will come out on the W Network in Canada on December 6.