'Sleepy Hollow's Nicole Beharie Talks Being a Black Woman in a Fantasy Series
Fox's new show Sleepy Hollow has drawn many eyes since its premiere last week by raking in the viewers with the rapidly-developing word of mouth that surrounds the show's somehow-it-works balance of the mystical, the corny, and the crime show. At the center of this stand is the show's two stars: Tom Mison as transplanted Revolutionary War soldier Ichabod Crane, and Nicole Beharie, as modern-day sheriff Abbie Mills. The latter also happens to be a woman of color, which, as she mentioned in a recent interview with Crave, is a feat in representation Beharie's still marveling over.
Asked if she always wanted to be a kick-ass action heroine like she plays in Sleepy Hollow, Beharie responded:
I honestly never imagined I would actually get to do this. No, like seriously, I never imagined as a black, African-American 20-something, I would be able to do this. You just don’t see it, it’s just not a reality. When they called me in, I read it and I was like, “Okay, cool, this is great.” I never saw myself as someone who would be able to tote a gun and be also in a fantasy piece, but I welcome it with open arms because I grew up on comic books and action films. Those are the things I kind of thrive on, other than the random French Film. I love that.
In a world far too filled with the same white-washed castings over and over, Sleepy Hollow does deserve some credit for having confidence in a show where half the main pair is made up of an awesome black character like Beharie's Abbie Mills. And more than that, their wider ensemble is also one of the more diverse we've seen of late.
This kind of representation is sadly lacking in a lot of media from the comic books Beharie mentions loving, to the movies based on those comic books, to hundreds of other shows in between. Finding a black woman as an action lead? That is (disappointingly) incredibly rare, and so far Beharie's kicking ass at it.
As the argument for representation goes, our media should make more of an effort when it comes to accurately reflecting the people who live in this world. And yes, that even extends to shows revolving around time travel and a George Washington-predicted apocalypse.