Andy Cohen on why it took so long to add a Black cast member to 'RHOBH'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3-min read

Andy Cohen is talking about diversity within The Real Housewives franchise.

Cohen, who executive produces the series and hosts the reunion specials, appeared on Garcelle Beauvais's podcast and was asked why it took so long to have a Black cast member on the Beverly Hills franchise — and when viewers will see an all-gay cast.

Cohen said on Going to Bed with Garcelle that it took to Season 10 of Bravo's RHOBH, in 2019, to add Beauvais as the first Black woman in 10 seasons because they were waiting for "the perfect one." However, he noted, "There was no excuse."

(Photo: Going to Bed with Garcelle)
Andy Cohen appeared as a guest on Garcelle Beauvais's Going to Bed with Garcelle podcast. Beauvais is the first Black cast member on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — and talked about her casting. (Photo: Going to Bed with Garcelle)

He explained, "I think that it was a bad cycle because then the longer you waited, the more you wanted to get it absolutely perfect when you did cast a woman of color and bring them into the group. You wanted that person to succeed."

Cohen continued, "Over the years, there have been people that we did not cast that were people of color... We really wanted to get it right, so that we weren't casting someone that would be a one-season housewife or like, 'Oh, well, she's boring' or she didn't fit. I just think it was this vicious cycle of wanting to get it absolutely right. The true answer is: There is no excuse. It's bad and there is no excuse."

The Coming 2 America actress also asked about having a gay Housewives franchise — and Cohen, who is gay, said they've come close to adding individuals but it hasn't happened.

"We’ve talked about that," he said. "It was something that we were really into many years ago. We've almost cast several lesbians."

Cohen said they almost cast a gay man but decided the show should remain female-focused.

"I think when you start casting gay men, it just, it's ultimately a show about women," he said. "The guys have always been in the background. The husbands have typically been more in the background. So I think the answer is: We've been open to it. We almost cast [Dina and Caroline Manzo's brother] as the first gay housewife [on Real Housewives of New Jersey]. This was years ago — 2008 or '09 —something like that. But we wound up just not doing it." 

He concluded, "If the right person smacked me in the face, yeah."

After Beauvais joined RHOBH in 2019, Bravo added its first Asian American, Crystal Kung Minkoff, to the group. She recently called it "a huge honor and a huge responsibility," especially "with the uprise of anti-Asian hate." The show otherwise has featured a racially homogeneous cast, outside of Joyce Giraud, a Puerto Rican actress and model, who was on for just one season, years ago.

Atlanta and Potomac feature primarily women of color — and Salt Lake City has been touted as the most diverse in franchise history. But, like Beverly Hills, that's generally not been the case for New Jersey, New York City, Orange County and Dallas. However, New York City did just add Eboni K. Williams, its first Black Housewife, after Cohen promised more diversity last year.

Orange County does have a lesbian housewife, Braunwyn Windham-Burke, but she came out in December after joining the show in 2019. So they weren't specifically casting her to diversify. 

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