When the initial cast of Mixed-ish was introduced and Tika Sumpter was announced as Rainbow’s mom, Alicia, as we told you, fans of black-ish were confused. Actress Anna Deavere Smith, who is of a lighter complexion, has always played Bow’s mom on black-ish, so people thought it odd that for the origin story show for Bow, Tika, who is a darker-skinned woman, would take the reigns as Alicia. People discussed the decision, calling it a “Reverse Aunt Viv” move, which is in reference to The Fresh Prince and the original “Aunt Viv,” played by Janet Hubert, being replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid.
In a conversation with The Root in late September at the Urbanworld Film Festival, Tika actually had the chance to address the conversation about her casting. The 39-year-old actress kept it positive.
“I don’t know if it’s reverse Aunt Viv, but what I do know is the creators of the show wanted to serve the story and the story for them is fully rounded with a brown-skinned woman as the mom, and I was like, ‘Alright, cool! If that’s what you guys want,'” she said. “And it does serve what we’re doing and I hope everybody sees it and they get it. I’m loving it.”
Whether you like it or hate it, Tika is excited to be playing such a layered character that is much different from portrayals you tend to see of Black women on TV.
“Not everybody is a monolith as Black women, and I think sometimes we’re tucked in a jar and not allowed to explore,” she said. “So my character, Alicia, went on a commune, was a hippy for 15 years, lived in this utopian space and comes out and she actually also went to Berkeley Law school, so there’s this aspect of life I think that we don’t get to play with as Black women. We’re always strong, we’re always this one thing, and I feel like I get to at least present it to the world, something else.”