Tracee Ellis Ross Will Reimagine ‘The Golden Girls’ With A Black Cast Over Zoom

A reimagined take on “The Golden Girls” is hitting the (virtual) airwaves this week.

Tracee Ellis Ross announced plans over the weekend to star in an all-Black version of the beloved sitcom over Zoom. The “Black-ish” star confirmed the news on Instagram with a quirky photo that suggested she’ll be playing Rose, the character made famous by Betty White.

Actors Regina King, Sanaa Lathan and Alfre Woodard appear to be taking on Dorothy, Blanche and Sophia, respectively.

The episode will stream live on Tuesday and will be hosted by Lena Waithe. It’s being produced in support of Color of Change, billed as the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. 

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“Join us for an evening that takes a look back to the sitcoms of yesteryear before you could pause your screens or binge watch,” the event’s website reads. “We bring to you our rendition of ‘Golden Girls,’ reimagined with an all-Black cast of your favorite actresses.” 

Whether the performance will be based on an existing “Golden Girls” episode or incorporate a new script remains to be seen. But given the legions of fans who have kept the series a relevant and enduring favorite, it looks certain to be a hit. 

The reimagining comes months after the Emmy-winning series, which originally aired from 1985 to 1992, was the subject of a surprising controversy.

In June, Hulu removed a 1988 episode titled “Mixed Blessings,” which follows Dorothy (played by Bea Arthur) as she grapples with her son Michael’s engagement to an older Black woman, Lorraine. It features a scene in which Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Rose allude to blackface while giving themselves at-home facials.

Hulu, which is owned by Disney, never commented publicly on the news. Its decision came as other classic shows, including “30 Rock” and “Scrubs,” took similar steps to drop episodes with blackface from streaming services.

Black media personalities, however, criticized the “Golden Girls” removal. Many pointed out that the scene involves mud masks rather than actual blackface, and that the episode concludes with the Black and white characters resolving their conflict.

“Removing this episode is weird, counterproductive and stupid,” author Roxane Gay tweeted. “It diminishes the effort to actually end racism. It’s just so dumb.” 

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