“For the first time in my career, I got to play a character who was centered in her own narrative,” Dee wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Instagram Wednesday night. “She wasn’t just the white character’s ‘best friend.’ She was empowered and confident, she approached the exploration of her queer identity with an open heart, and was met with nothing but love and acceptance from her friends. Kat Edison: unapologetic, outspoken, brave, the woman I always wished I could be.” Dee said she took inspiration from her character to speak openly and constructively about the show’s lack of diversity behind the camera, pointing out that it took two seasons to get a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) writer on the show. “I’m ready to take a cue from my girl Kat. What would Kat do? She would take a stand and advocate for herself and all other marginalized voices to influence change,” she wrote. “I am ready to push harder and speak louder for what matters to me: The diversity we see in front of the camera needs to be reflected in the diversity of the creative team behind the camera.”
Aisha Dee's character's romance with a conservative who defends conversion therapy couldn’t have come at a worse time: "I’d hate this arc at any time, but during this current cultural moment, it feels especially like a betrayal," says Zeba Blay. "Pairing Kat, a Black, progressive, bisexual woman, with someone who is anti-immigrant, a bigot, and a defender of conversion therapy is so disappointing. Honestly, it’s kind of depressing. There’s definitely space to explore how Kat’s half-baked liberal views blind her to other perspectives. But this storyline suggesting that her and Ava’s sexual tension is a balm for their differences (their differences on human rights, not the best ice cream flavors or something) is sloppy at best, irresponsible at worst. The messaging that Kat’s arc is sending, especially in this moment, is that many of the things people are fighting against right now — white supremacy, the exploitation of working-class and poor people, transphobia and homophobia, and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies to name a few — are merely differences of opinion, worth agreeing-to-disagree over in the name of romance. Yikes."