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Minority Show Ghetto

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"Some of you may know me from my films like Madea's Family Reunion and Why Did I Get Married?, or you may know my sitcoms, like Meet the Browns and House of Payne. Or you may be white."
Kenan Thompson as Tyler Perry, Saturday Night Live

Similar to the Girl-Show Ghetto, but with racial minorities instead of females. This is the idea that fiction centered on a racial minority cannot entertain or otherwise appeal to people outside of that race. Marketers might fear that a work starring a racial minority will be focused on issues of race and culture, driving away audiences who are not interested in such movies. They might also fear that white audiences won't be able to relate to a minority in the lead, or worse, find the movies preachy and/or guilt-inducing simply because of who is in them.


The result of this belief is that works starring people of a racial minority in the work's place of origin are rare compared to works starring a member of a racial majority. If a Western work of fiction wishes to have a diverse cast or deal with issues of race, it will likely star a white person with minorities as supporting actors. See Mighty Whitey, White Man's Burden, White Male Lead, Token White, and Pop-Culture Isolation. Adaptions and anything based on a true story fearing this might go for a race lift to get around it, making any minorities in the original work white instead. Alternatively, they might find a white person who had a minor role in the original story and focus on him.

It is not uncommon for works featuring non-white leads to become popular when advertising hides or downplays the presence of non-white characters. This is especially true in written works, where advertising does not require visual representations of the characters. Sometimes these works see no drop in popularity when the lead is shown to be a person of color, suggesting that readers will enjoy a good story once they get over their initial reluctance from seeing a person of color on the cover, or that the reluctance doesn't exist in the first place.


Note that this trope is often a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Marketeers are afraid that majority people might not be interested in a minority-centric work since it might deal with hard-to-relate themes. This can cause filmmakers to make their movies about those themes since they may be relatable to only minorities to begin with and thus implement themes they feel are important, causing many such movies to in fact feature such themes, thus usually keeping majority people away... and so on. So please be discerning when adding or editing examples.

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Anime And Manga

  • Hirohiko Araki mentioned in an interview that he believes one of the reasons the first two parts of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure didn't make as much of a splash as the third, which starred the half-Japanese, half-American Jotaro Kujo, was because they featured wholly European protagonists during a time when Japanese audiences were heavily against such characters. Since then, with the exception of Steel Ball Run every protagonist in the series has some measure of Japanese heritage in order to avert this trope.

Comic Books

  • Dwayne McDuffie, a late great pioneer in the comic book industry, had suffered through this his whole life when being a writer for a comic book series. He called it the rule of three: Where if three or more black characters are in a comic book series, it's considered a "black product" and thus many white readers, who are the overwhelming majority of comic book buyers, ignore it. He also noted a double standard in the industry: where he got flack from readers for writing a Justice League of America run with a largely non-white cast, a white writer would not get the same criticism for writing a book with an all-white cast.
  • At New York Comic-Con, writer Don McGregor mentioned how his Black Panther run came under criticism from white readers over the lack of white characters. His solution? Have the Panther fight the Ku Klux Klan.
  • This is a major reason why Christopher Priest took a decade-long hiatus from writing for Marvel or DC. Despite the fact that he previously had a lengthy career writing titles as varied as Deadpool, Hawkman, Justice League Task Force, and Green Lantern, his tenures on titles like Steel and his historic Black Panther run thoroughly pigeonholed him as a "black" writer. He has mentioned that it became difficult to find work on any non-minority titles, and that being offered a Falcon solo book was ultimately the straw that broke the camel's back.
    • He also invoked this trope while discussing The Crew, a short-lived book he wrote featuring War Machine and several other minority heroes. He initially tried to get characters like Gambit and Justice added to the cast precisely because he didn't want The Crew to be seen as a "black" comic, but when this fell through, he ended up with an entirely-minority cast. He claims the lack of white characters is one of the things that helped kill the book, as retailers didn't feel like ordering a series without any recognizable white superheroes.
    • Priest finally returned to mainstream comics in 2016 with Deathstroke for the DC Rebirth relaunch. He claims he initially turned down an offer to do a Cyborg series for the reasons mentioned above, and only agreed to write Deathstroke after the editors assured him the character hadn't been Race Lifted into a black guy.
  • All four attempts to star the Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle have ended with the series being cancelled, none having lasted longer than two and a half years. Some have cited the issue being that he's a Latino superhero, starring a prominently Latino cast, and set in El Paso, Texas, taking up the mantle of a B-lister (in fact, that's the reason Jaime was allowed to be created, because it was believed no one would care about the Blue Beetle). All of this despite being a well-liked character and possibly the most iconic version to modern audiencesnote . In fact, he's been cited as an example of how an Affirmative Action Legacy character can be done right.


  • The Good Earth was a bestselling and critically acclaimed novel about the lives of Chinese farmers. A film adaptation was greenlit, and the original author and the filmmakers themselves wanted an all Asian cast. Sadly this was Hollywood in the 1930s and most of the parts went to white actors in Yellowface. Anna May Wong, leading Chinese-American movie star, wanted desperately to play the female lead - but the Hays Code prevented her from playing the wife of a white man (even if he was made up to look Chinese).
  • Silent movie star Anna May Wong would frequently encounter these problems in Hollywood. The good parts went to white actresses wearing Yellowface, while she was only offered roles as a Dragon Lady or Beautiful Slave Girl.
  • Imitation of Life (1959) broke out of the ghetto but the marketing heavily focused on the Love Triangle between Lana Turner, John Gavin and Sandra Dee - almost in an attempt to sucker audiences who might be alienated by what the director viewed as the true story of the film; Lana Turner's black housekeeper trying to raise her fair-skinned daughter.
  • One of the theories as to why The Princess and the Frog wasn't as successful as it was expected would have been because of the protagonist's ethnicity. However, other factors from lack of advertising, to being released at the same time as Avatar, to the use of traditional animation have also been blamed. Mind you, the movie was still successful as far as animated movies go. Still, it would take seven years for the Walt Disney Animation Studios to release another musical about a royal of color — the predominantly-CGI Moananote , which fortunately turned a larger gross.
  • Danny Glover has tried to raise funds for a film on the Haitian Revolution. However, he keeps getting rejected because the story lacks white heroes.
  • Similarly, the Jamie Chung film Abduction of Eden struggled to find funding because it starred an Asian-American lead. Chung has said in interviews that the execs wanted to include a heroic White Male Lead who would eventually save Eden, something the producers were adamant about avoiding since the film is based on a true story.
  • Justin Lin had a hard time raising money for his first movie, Better Luck Tomorrow, because very few people wanted to fund a movie with an entirely Asian-American cast. One potential investor said he'd donate a million dollars to the budget if Lin would agree to cast Macaulay Culkin as the lead...despite the fact that the movie was based on a true story about an Asian-American teen.
  • Tyler Perry's movies are not very popular outside the black community, though there is controversy on whether it's because white people don't want to see movies with all-black casts or because the movies are of poor quality. And that's all that needs to be said about it.
  • Spike Lee gets hit with this, too. His Miracle at St. Anna didn't get the best reviews (34% at Rotten Tomatoes) but that alone doesn't explain its incredibly low box office numbers (a little over US$9 million with a budget of US$45 million).
  • Even Halle Berry has stated that this belief makes it hard for her to find roles.
  • Thandie Newton has likewise said "I love the UK but I just can't work there", saying that the majority of television that gets produced is period pieces or "stuff about the Royal Family" - meaning they feature majority white casts.
  • The Wiz was a black-led musical version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The film version released in 1978 was a box office failure that greatly damaged the perceived financial viability of all-black films.
  • Red Tails was in development hell for over 20 years because the idea of an all-black cast wasn't appealing enough for a movie studio to fund it, so producer George Lucas funded the film entirely out of his own pocket and it finally saw the light of day in 2012. It got a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and didn't make back its budget at the box office. Like many other examples, it's unclear if this is because of the all-black cast, valid criticisms of the film, or simply for having George Lucas's name on it. The film was quite successful for an independently-produced project and Lucas is trying to get a sequel made.
  • In Hitch, Will Smith was paired with Latina Eva Mendes to avoid risking audiences dismissing it as a "black film."
  • A Wrinkle in Time (2018) received lots of publicity for the fact that it was a big budget fantasy film with minority leads - the Murrays receive a Race Lift from the book to become a mixed race family. The film's lukewarm critical and commercial reception prompted The Mary Sue to publish an article about this very subject.
  • Irene Bedard was given a lot of hype in the mid-90s as a Native American actress who had potential to become a star - after a Golden Globe nominated performance in Lakota Woman and becoming the voice of Disney's Pocahontas. Yet despite critically acclaimed work, she fell headlong into the ghetto and to this day campaigns for better representation for Native Americans in film.


Live-Action TV

  • My Brother and Me, a Nickelodeon sitcom with a mostly black cast, only lasted 13 episodes, though strangely, re-runs would be kept in rotation for a good decade. My Brother and Me can be attributed to Creative Differences.
  • The Real McCoy, an all-black comedy sketch show on The BBC, bombed.
  • The TV series Kung Fu was originally meant to star Bruce Lee. However, executives feared that a show starring an Asian man would be rejected by viewers and cast the white David Carradine as the half-Chinese Caine.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002) suffered from this. It aired on UPN, a station known for its minority shows, and it ended up being forced to reflect that (plots such as a racist white man waking up black, Forest Whitaker as the host, etc). It only lasted one season, presumably because the changes scared away some white viewers but weren't enough to attract UPN's usual demographic.
    • UPN in general faced this problem for its entire existence. While its black-led sitcoms were always popular with black audiences, none of them ever managed to break out of the ghetto. When UPN was merged with The WB in 2006 to form The CW, most of UPN's black-led shows wound up getting left behind and the new network aimed for the WB's white middle-class audience. Despite this, many shows on UPN still have their fans to this day, and even after ditching these shows, the "middle-class" CW would still struggle in the ratings.
    • Ironically the WB itself started off similarly to UPN and had the same problem with its black sitcoms. Likewise Fox in the early '90s.
  • All-American Girl, starring Margaret Cho, only lasted one season. The show initially centered on Margaret Kim and her family. During its run, the producers shifted focus away from Margaret's family, which resulted in most of the Asian actors being fired.
  • The Earthsea novels had explicitly non-white main characters, though taking place in a fantasy world, so the books themselves are actually a pretty good example of an aversion (fantasy being a very white-dominated genre); its covers, however, have not always lived up to this, with some making the main character white. In addition, the TV miniseries adaptation gave everyone a Caucasian race lift save for the main character's mentor who remained black, and the anime Tales from Earthsea, due to the way Japanese animation portrays ethnicity in general, made everyone look Caucasian.
  • Outsourced (the TV adaptation) had a majority cast of Americans, Canadians, and British of subcontinental descent. This—combined with the subject matter of outsourcing hitting a nerve with Americans and its multicultural humor that Americans who'd never lived outside their country would not understand—led to the show's cancellation.
  • In The Real Husbands of Hollywood, J.B. Smoove eventually leaves the show to join the cast of The Millers, and jokingly brags about how much more he's getting paid now that he's on a "white show" rather than a BET production. He's also seen wearing a shirt that reads "White people love me." In an earlier episode, Chris Rock guest-stars and explains to Kevin Hart the difference between being "black famous" and "actually famous," essentially invoking this trope in all but name.
  • Undercovers is a spy series starring two African-American actors and with several actors of color between the secondary roles, however it was canceled in the middle of its first season. In this case the race does not seem to have been the main reason for its failure, but the boring of the program and the mediocre of the plots.


  • This article, while mainly about beauty standards among women, notes that this trope (or the inverse) may be why Adele and Bruno Mars were put in the "pop" category at the Grammys despite the fact that their music is usually described as R&B/soul/pop. The author also notes that Cee Lo Green is not counted as pop, despite being just as successful in the mainstream as Adele and Bruno Mars.
  • Rockism refers to the belief by critics that rock music is more "authentic" than other genres. Among other things, it is criticized for being the reason why critics often dismiss genres such as disco, R&B and Hip-Hop, genres that are mostly dominated by African-Americans. While rock was largely invented by African-Americans, by The '70s the genre was more or less dominated by white artists.
  • Jazz suffered this too at the hands of music critics when it first arose, and mostly due to racism. However, over the decades it's broken out of the ghetto, and is even taught in schools alongside classical.
  • New Edition suffered from this, having a mostly black audience. This led to their contemporaries, New Kids on the Block, being credited for creating the modern Boy Band archetype, despite New Edition being the originators. In fact, NKOTB was explicitly created to be their white counterpart.
  • A big part of why disco became, well, Deader Than Disco is that it was never able to fully escape this despite the explosion of its mainstream popularity. It had its roots in the black, Latino, Italian, and gay nightclubs of New York City and Philadelphia, roots that it never shook even as people from those scenes accused the genre's biggest artists of selling out, and so for many (especially in Middle America) who didn't come from that background, disco came to be indelibly associated with hedonistic effetes and city slickers bringing their lifestyles into the heartland. Music historians often see the backlash against disco as intertwined with the broader conservative backlash of the late '70s that eventually produced Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
  • FKA Twigs says that her racial background is why she is considered "alternative R&B", even though she believes her music has more in common with punk and doesn't consider herself to be R&B at all.
    "It's just because I'm mixed race. When I first released music and no one knew what I looked like, I would read comments like: 'I've never heard anything like this before, it's not in a genre.' And then my picture came out six months later, now she's an R&B singer."


  • Discussed by Cracked in "5 Old-Timey Prejudices That Still Show Up in Every Movie." Three of them, including the top two, address elements of this trope. #2 says that movies always star a white person (or Will Smith) and #1 discusses how white audiences don't care about history not involving white people.
  • Although their movies averted the trope, it's suspiciously alive and well in the Disney Princess merchandise. Mulan and Pocahontas are often featured less than the white princesses - possibly due to their lack of Pimped Out Dresses and coming from cultures that wouldn't allow for the western style gowns the princesses are often depicted in. Jasmine, an Arab princess, is likewise sometimes depicted in a western style gown. A 2014 study showed that Tiana and Jasmine's merchandise sold considerably less than the white princesses'. A redesign in 2013 controversially lightened the skin tones of all the princesses of colour too.

Professional Wrestling

  • Pointed out that WWE has rarely had a woman of colour pushed as a top Face - management favouring Caucasian blondes and light-skinned Latinas. Black women tend to get pushed as heels and there has rarely been more than one Asian female in the company at a time. Further exacerbating matters after the article was published was Sasha Banks getting such short Women's Championship reigns - despite her clear popularity. All the women she lost her titles to were blonde and white by the way.

Web Original

  • Issa Rae, the creator of Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, discusses this in this interview. She says that the show couldn't exist without the Internet because TV has a very strict notion of how a black character should act, which is why ABG's network TV adaptation was in Development Hell for so long. A Spiritual Successor of sorts, Insecure was released on HBO in 2016 (which could also reflect this trope, since HBO is likely the only network that would take a risk on a show with a majority black cast).
    "In one meeting, during the first ten seconds, this guy said, "The show is pretty funny. This is about a typical black woman with her black women problems." And then said big names were necessary to make it to television."

    Breaking Out of the Ghetto 

Comic Books

  • Al Simmons was black, but Spawn was still the most popular comic book series of the 1990s. Note, however, that due to his full-body costume (not to mention being disfigured), Spawn's ethnicity wasn't immediately evident.
  • Somewhat subverted with DC Comics Steel, who was the most popular of the replacement Superman characters during The Death of Superman storyline. His own series didn't last long, but that may have been more due to The Great Comics Crash of 1996 than anything.
  • Chew has been a very strong seller for Image Comics and a bit of a mainstream comic hit, with an Asian American protagonist.
  • Static from the Milestone comic line. He was easily the company's most successful character before being integrated into DC. Though he is largely unused by DC Comics, he still has a large fan following due to his humor, charisma, and relatability. His animated series, Static Shock, was also a large hit at the time.
  • Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man, has proven popular with fans and critics despite the initial backlash the character faced over being a "Black Spider-Man."
  • The 2014 Ms. Marvel stars Kamala Khan, a Muslim, Pakistani-American female and has been highly successful, thus breaking out of this and the Girl-Show Ghetto.
  • W.I.T.C.H. has a majority minority cast (two biracial girls, one Chinese-American girl, one light-skinned ambiguously latina girl, and one white girl) but that's never hurt its popularity. It's one of the more popular female-aimed comics (and cartoons) of the 2000s.
  • Agents of Atlas revived Marvel's oldest Chinese-American crimefighter, Jimmy Woo, in a story boasting a Wakandan Audience Surrogate, Derek Khanata, and earned a positive enough reception for Woo and his fellow Agents to re-appear in several more comics. The New Agents of Atlas, consisting entirely of crimefighters with Asian heritage, defied the Ghetto with the first issue of their War of the Realms tie-in; even after Marvel doubled retailers' orders for the comic, it sold out after a few days, requiring Marvel to print it a second time. This success also prompted Marvel to commission more stories for both sets of Agents.


  • While viewed as a B-movie in its time, Daughter of Shanghai was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry precisely because it was a film from the 1930s that had Asian-Americans as the leads - and non-stereotypical ones at that.
  • The World of Suzie Wong was a movie from 1961 that - while it did have a White Male Lead and a couple of white supporting characters - was clearly set in Hong Kong, featured an Asian woman as the lead (as opposed to a white actress in Yellowface, which was still happening in Hollywood at the time) and addressed racism of white Hong Kong expats towards poor Chinese locals. Nancy Kwan became the leading Asian actress in Hollywood thanks to this film. It extended to the original book - which was a bestseller that allowed its author to retire comfortably - and the play it adapted - which had such high ticket sales it kept running despite dreadful reviews.
  • Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Martin Lawrence, and Eddie Murphy tend to avoid this ghetto. At the height of his popularity, Smith once bragged that he bombed over $100 million.
  • Samuel L. Jackson is notably a modern pop cultural icon, although this may have less to do with race and more to do with sheer muthafuckin' charisma and the massive number of films he's in.
  • Donald Glover might be the best modern example of a complete aversion to this trope. He has a following of all ethnicities around the world and has done practically everything in a short time as a successful writer, director, comedian, and music artist. Any character he plays, even if minor, inevitably becomes an Ensemble Dark Horse. The only time he really ran into this trope was when he unsuccessfully campaigned to play a Race Lifted Spider-Man in Sony's ill-fated The Amazing Spider-Man Series, but even that ended up getting subverted when it lead to the creation of Miles Morales as direct inspiration, who in turn became one of the most popular characters introduced in the 2010s.
  • Stepin Fetchit got his start in the black vaudeville circuit as a character actor. However, his slow-witted tomming in the 1929 version of Showboat endeared him with white audiences, and led to mainstream success.
  • Martial arts films starring Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li have gained mainstream popularity in the United States.
  • Friday was a breakaway hit with a virtually all-black cast and took place in South-Central Los Angeles, yet it's a favorite even among white audiences, with its archetypal characters, stoner humor and lack of forced racial commentary.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and its sequels have a Korean and an Indian as the lead characters. They are also popular, hilarious, profitable, and well-reviewed. Notably, the studio, apparently believing in this trope, attempted to change the main characters' ethnicities to Jewish in order to make them more "acceptable" to white viewers. The writers (who are Jewish) responded by including two Jewish buddies... as side characters.
  • 2012 movie Think Like a Man, which had an almost all-black cast and was Based on an Advice Book by black comedian Steve Harvey, topped the box office when released in theaters, actually pushing The Hunger Games to No. 4.
  • Slumdog Millionaire is a decidedly Indian story (albeit directed by a Brit), yet it earned both critical and commercial acclaim in the west as well as that year's best picture Oscar. However, opinion on the film in India itself is decidedly more mixed.
  • Lilo & Stitch (and Lilo & Stitch: The Series) stars a pair of native Hawaiian sisters and their various alien True Companions; even most of the secondary human cast (Cobra Bubbles, Mrs. Hasigawa) are non-white. Nevertheless the movie was quite successful. Not as successful as most Disney originals, but that may have been from competing with Scooby-Doo.
  • The bulk of the main cast of the Spy Kids series is Hispanic, with the movies revolving around the exploits of the Mexican-American Cortez family (fitting, since the series was created by the Mexican-American Robert Rodriguez). It was also one of the most popular children's movie franchises of the 2000s, spawning three sequels and grossing over $500 million.
  • The Disney features Aladdin, Mulan, and Moana were wildly successful, while having casts consisting entirely of Arabic, Chinese or Manchu, and Polynesian characters. The Princess and the Frog became a Cult Classic, despite its predominantly African-American cast, and Ambiguously Brown Love Interest. Pocahontas, which also features Native American protagonists, has also been Vindicated by History and has more fans these days.note 
    • The first two also got live-action remakes, with Aladdin being even more ethnic (aside from the above mentioned Will Smith plus one white actor playing a visiting monarch, the main cast were of Arab, Persian or Indian descent), and Mulan actually being Chinese (in contrast to the cartoon's voice cast only having three Chinese-Americans, though six more and a singer were of East Asian descent).
  • Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as a black ex-slave and was both a critical and commercial success.
  • In 2013, The Best Man Holiday, the sequel to a cult classic film, The Best Man, that came out in 1999 about the relationships between African-American couples, was a surprising success at the box office and was even more profitable percentage wise compared to Thor: The Dark World, the biggest release at the time. The film had a small budget of 17 million, but made over 71 million dollars in profit. Pretty impressive, since romantic films starring African-Americans usually don't do well at the box office.
  • A similar instance was cited for No Good Deed (2014), which starred Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson. Though it was savaged by critics, the film managed to pull in $51 million on a $13 million budget, making it a surprise success. This trope was even cited by box office analysts, who stated that it was unusual for a black-led thriller to find success like that at the box office.
  • Home, which stars singer Rihanna as the film's black protagonist, was a surprise hit, opening at $54 million domestically and 99.7 million worldwide. The movie's opening weekend was touted as a much-needed success for Dreamworks after the disappointing openings for Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar.
  • Straight Outta Compton, the movie about the controversial rap group, N.W.A., had a mostly black cast, a black director, and many black producers and executive producers. It was a huge success at the box office, and reigned as the number one film in America for three weeks in a row before another black film, War Room, surpassed it as the number one film for the fourth and fifth week. It's considered one of the most successful black films in American history and a strong statement against the stereotype that African-American films can't do well at the box office. Interestingly, during the sixth week after Straight Outta Compton, another black film, The Perfect Guy came in number one at the box office - making it six straight weeks that an African American film was the number one seen movie in America.
  • Shaft made back its budget many times over and earned excellent reviews, despite having a black lead and a mostly black cast.
  • Get Out was seen as a long shot, as it was an indie horror film about race, starred a largely-unknown (at least in the U.S.) actor as the lead, and was director Jordan Peele's first movie. It opened at #1 at the box office and garnered rave reviews, and went on to gross $252 million dollars against a meager 5 million dollar budget.
  • The Queen Latifah film Girls Trip opened with $34 million dollars at the U.S. box office, coming in second place to the blockbuster Dunkirk and easily beating out Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It managed to be a hit despite analysts noting the poor track record of other comedies released that summer; in its second weekend, it even beat out the highly-anticipated Atomic Blonde.
  • Black Panther (2018), which has a very African setting and only two white actors in the main cast, was released to rave reviews and a higher opening than the first installment of any other solo MCU movie series, going on to break Marvel Studios' top three largest-grossing movies worldwide. Domestically, it became the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time, not adjusting for inflation. Then it became the first superhero genre film to be nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 Academy Awards, and the first MCU film to win any Oscars at all.note 
  • Aquaman (2018) grossed over $1 billion worldwide and garner positive reviews while being directed by Asian-Australian filmmaker James Wan and having the traditionally white superhero be played by Polynesian and Native American actor Jason Momoa. If anything, fans openly embraced the Aquaman's Race Lift since Momoa's performance helped save the hero from his infamous Joke Character reputation.
  • Like its book adaptation, Crazy Rich Asians became a box office success and earned positive reviews which proves that a movie with an all-Asian cast can be successful as any other movie. And a week after the movie's release, a sequel, which would adapt the second book (China Rich Girlfriend), is being planned.
  • The film adaptation of Flower Drum Song featured an almost all-Asian cast, which was quite impressive in 1961. Despite persistent rumors that it was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein film to lose money at the box office, it actually grossed $10,7 million against a $4 million budget.
  • Although not as successful as other Spider-Man films (largely due to being released alongside Aquaman and Bumblebee), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, starring Miles Morales, raised $375 million in total, won the Oscar for best animated film and has already been confirmed a sequel, in addition to plans for future spin-offs with female protagonists, such as Spider-Gwen and Spider-Woman.


  • This happened as early as the 1850s with the English translation and publication of A Thousand and One Nights. Those stories have been wildly popular with Europeans and Americans ever since, despite featuring Arabs and Persians as their main characters.
  • Salammbô it was also very popular in 19th-century Europe, although most of the characters are from North Africa (libyans, numidians, carthaginians)
  • The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, who wrote the popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, has two biracial lead characters. However, note that the leads' race is not immediately obvious on the cover art, unlike the cover art for The Lightning Thief. Might be Percy doesn't immediately look white, so most readers are probably going to assume that he is, but he could as well be Asian.
  • The title character of the popular Alex Cross series by James Patterson is black. This is another example of a book where the POC lead character's race is kept ambiguous until after you've started reading.
  • English author Zadie Smith avoided the ghetto with her first novel, White Teeth, which featured Loads and Loads of Characters representing many different races and religions. But she remarked in an interview that it bothered her when fans of the book came up to her and said: "My favorite character in White Teeth was [character who was of that person's race or religion]. I could really identify with him/her." Smith said that people need to be exposed to the experiences - whether real or fictional - of people who are not like them. Even though her mother was a black Jamaican, Smith listed a number of white males as her favorite authors.
  • The Joy Luck Club is perhaps the most famous example of Asian American literature in existence. It was made into a critically acclaimed film.
  • Crazy Rich Asians trilogy is also a best-selling novel about a bunch of rich Asians that a film adaptation is made which would also had an all-Asian cast.

Live-Action TV

  • The Starz crime drama Power was created with this trope in mind. The marketing and advertising for the show was specifically intended to bring in more African American subscribers. It worked and the series became their highest rated series since Spartacus.
  • The Wire. Almost all the cast is black. It's largely about the problems of low-income communities and housing projects almost exclusively inhabited by black people. It is also regarded as one of the best TV series ever made. It is especially popular among academics, so much so that Harvard, UWM, Durham, and other colleges are offering courses on the series. It is worth noting, however, that the season of The Wire that had the highest ratings was the one in which the majority of characters were white. Which is ironic in itself, as the second season is generally regarded as Seasonal Rot, and can more likely be attributed as a roll-on effect of how well the first season was received.
  • The Cosby Show is probably one of the biggest aversions of this in TV history. Though, of course, Cosby had to work like heck to convince network execs that a show about a professional-class African American family was something that people would watch.
  • Little Mosque on the Prairie, a Canadian sitcom about Muslims, ran a respectable six seasons and was a big hit for the CBC, even attracting media attention south of the border.
  • Desmond's, a Channel 4 comedy in Britain, became almost as famous as The Cosby Show. The star of Desmond's was invited to do a walk-on part on The Cosby Show as a relative of the Huxtables.
  • Goodness Gracious Me, a British comedy sketch show with an Indian cast, was highly successful.
  • Kenan & Kel, a Nickelodeon sitcom with two black leads, ran for 62 episodes and is beloved by children of the '90s.
  • Sister, Sister: Five black protagonists, and the leads were girls to boot. It ran for six seasons and was quite popular on Nickelodeon.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a black-led sitcom, and is a classic that launched Will Smith's career.
  • Family Matters, particularly after the introduction of Steve Urkel.
  • The Jeffersons, the longest running black sitcom in history. It was rated in the top 30 for most of its run. Granted, there were white actors in the cast, but the leads and the majority of the cast were black.
  • Jeffersons producer Norman Lear also struck gold with both Good Times and Sanford and Son, although both shows would be dogged with accusations of Uncle Tomfoolery, and are often mocked as "black shows that only appeal to white people."
  • Seinfeld was originally viewed this way by at least one studio executive, who thought that most Americans would find it "too Jewish." Needless to say, it wasn't too Jewish to become one of the most successful and influential sitcoms of The '90s.
  • The Brothers Garcia, a successful sitcom about a Hispanic family, featured an all-Hispanic cast as well as guest stars of many ethnicities. It was one of Nickelodeon's more popular shows and ran for four seasons.
  • Scandal has a black female in the lead, averting both the minority show ghetto and the girl show ghetto.
  • How to Get Away with Murder managed to have one of the highest-rated debuts of the season, which analysts noted was a rarity for black-led shows. Along with the premier of Black-ish, the show was cited as an example of how ABC's push for more ethnic diversity was paying off.
  • Fresh Off the Boat, which stars an Asian-American family and also airs on ABC, turned out to be a surprise hit. Many were expecting it to flop like the All American Girl example from above, but it turned out to have a very strong debut. There's a Lampshade Hanging on this trope in-universe. In one episode, one of the sons says that he wants to be an actor, and Jessica tells him that there are no roles for Asian actors in Hollywood.
  • Nikita has an Asian female in the lead and, like Scandal, breaks out of both the minority show ghetto and the girl show ghetto.
  • That's So Raven is recognized as one of the Disney Channel's iconic shows, essentially acting as the codifier for shows that weren't influenced by Lizzie McGuire. It was so popular, it ran past the typical Disney Channel 65-episode limitnote  and gained both a spin-off in Cory in the House and a revival in Raven's Home.
  • In Living Color! was pretty much the African-American version of Saturday Night Live and became a huge success for the Fox network, and was at one time competing neck-and-neck with SNL for ratings. The show ran for five seasons until it was finally cancelled, not due to Executive Meddling, but because the majority of the show's main cast all became big stars in their own right and went on to make successful films and television shows for themselves. Some of the people behind the scenes went on to create MADtv, though that show didn't have a predominately African-American cast.
  • One of the stars of In Living Color, Damon Wayans, also managed to co-create and star in a successful sitcom, My Wife and Kids, that while not a ratings behemoth still managed to last for five seasons.
  • Empire has proven to be a surprise hit for Fox, with viewership dwarfing many of the other hyped up shows of the season like Agent Carter. Some people (including 50 Cent) have actually accused the show of being a case of Follow the Leader made to cash in on the success of the aforementioned Power.
  • Chappelle's Show:
    • The series, with its black auteur writer, largely black cast, and focus on racial issues, was a massive ratings and critical success. Unfortunately, Chappelle felt deeply ambivalent about his success with white audiences, worried that too many of them were laughing at him and not with him and that he'd descended into Modern Minstrelsy.
    • In-universe, Dave jokes that Wayne Brady, the black lead of the American Whose Line Is It Anyway? among other shows, is so popular with white audiences because he's non-threatening, making "Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X." Wayne takes Dave on a terrifying night on the town showing him just how threatening he can be.
  • Aziz Ansari's Master of None, which also Lampshades this trope. The episode "Indians On TV" revolves around Dev accidentally finding out that the creator of the TV series he and his friend Ravi both tried out for doesn't want two Indian actors on the show, as he feels that it would alienate white viewers. Dev later says that America is only just now getting to a place where two black actors can star on the same show without it being labelled a "black show" by people.
  • Netflix's Narcos has a similar vibe as Breaking Bad except it's based on the Real Life notorious Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar. As expected, the majority of the cast are Hispanics and it got renewed for several more seasons and earned several Golden Globe nominations.
  • Luke Cage (2016) premiered to massive viewership and became the fifth most-watched original series in Netflix's history, even beating out Jessica Jones (2015).
  • Atlanta, despite having a black cast and writing team (in addition to being pretty weird), has gathered excellent ratings, critical acclaim, and a large amount of awards.


  • Ironically given the discussion of "rockism" above, Rock & Roll itself endured this in its early years in The '50s, when it was pigeonholed as "race music" and subjected to a moral panic about how white teenagers were being negatively influenced by the "jungle rhythms" of rock and how it was breaking down color barriers. Elvis Presley is often credited as the artist who started pulling rock out of the ghetto and making it acceptable for mainstream white listeners, eventually culminating in The British Invasion when the face of rock music became mostly white bands from the UK, leading to the rise of R&B, soul, funk, disco, and Hip-Hop in the '60s and '70s as "black" genres. These days, while rock's roots in the black community are well-known, modern rock music is seen as a very "white" genre in both its fans and its musicians, with black rock musicians often seen as odd ducks the same way that white rappers are.

Professional Wrestling

  • Since the above article was written, WWE has seen a couple of aversions:
    • Naomi finally got her long awaited push as the top face and became Smackdown Women's Champion in 2017.
    • Ember Moon was pushed with an undefeated streak on NXT and eventually became Women's Champion.
    • Asuka proved to be a massive star, beating out Goldberg's undefeated streak and even becoming the winner of the first women's Royal Rumble.
    • Kairi Sane was the winner of the Mae Young Classic tournament.

Tabletop Games

  • Magic: The Gathering's "Mirage" block is set in an African-themed setting and most of the human characters on the cards are black. It was also successful enough that many of the concepts introduced in it (the block structure, "enters the battlefield" abilities, sets designed with Limited play in mind, reminder text for keywords) are simply taken for granted in modern Magic. It was also the first set re-released for Magic Online and the character of Teferi came back to be the protagonist in the later "Time Spiral" block. Teferi is in fact popular enough that he was eventually printed as a planeswalker card despite the fact that he canonically gave up his planeswalker spark, also, his planeswalker card is one of only five who can be a commander in Commander/EDH format. This is quite an honor as normally only creatures can be commanders.


  • The Wiz presented an all-African-American retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, also boasting African-American songwriters and a black director. It lasted four years on Broadway, and also won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Additionally, the 2015 TV special - which had an African-American director as well as black actors and actresses - earned strong ratings and reviews, and won an Emmy for costume design.
  • There's also Hamilton, a hip-hop musical penned by Puerto Rican Lin-Manuel Miranda, and almost exclusively starring non-white actors (the only white character is the Big Bad). Not only was it a smash hit on Broadway, but the cast album managed to make it to #12 on the Billboard 200, the highest entrance for a musical since 1963.
  • Burt Williams was one of the biggest Broadway stars in the 1920s & 1930s. Sure, a lot of his shtick was Uncle Tomfoolery, but some of his work (particularly the song "Nobody") were rather serious takes on the racism of the day.
  • Kim's Convenience, a Canadian play about a Korean family and their Toronto convenience store, which was successful enough to spur a successful sitcom on CBC and a 2017 Off-Broadway run.

Video Games

  • Backyard Sports become immensely popular with young children even though you could count the white males on one hand.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was very popular, having run on CBS for most of the 1970s.
  • Dora the Explorer is universally loved by small children, despite featuring a Latina protagonist whose ethnicity is played up.
  • Similar to Dora, Doc McStuffins has proven to be very popular, with The New York Times actually commenting on the franchise's success by saying that it provides a positive role model for African-American girls while appealing to other demographics as well.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender universe is set in a fantasy world with heavy inspiration from the Far East and, along with most of the characters being Asian, many of the lead characters are particularly dark skinned. Despite this, it is has become incredibly popular.
    • While the live action movie kept the Far East cultural inspiration, it mixed up some of the races. The Japanese-like Fire Nation became a mix of Indians, Middle Easterners and Polynesians, while the blue-eyed and dark skinned Water Tribe became a mix of white lead actors and Inuit extras.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra was just as popular as the original, and also adds breaking out of the Girl-Show Ghetto to its list of achievements.
  • Despite being rather controversial in its first season, The Boondocks would grow to become one of Adult Swim's most popular productions. Its third season was even regularly beating out both Family Guy and Robot Chicken in the ratings.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has an entirely Asian main cast, with the recurring characters Captain Black and Viper the only major Caucasian characters on the heroes' side. It was also one of the most successful original Kids' WB! shows of the early 2000s, with a devoted fanbase that's still active today. Perhaps this is to be expected, since the cast was headed up by a highly fictionalized version of Jackie Chan himself, who also tends to avert this.
  • Static Shock, which had a largely black cast, was one of Kids' WB!'s highest rated cartoons at the time. In its final season, only Pokémon managed to consistently outperform it in the ratings. It did have trouble with merchandise though, while other superhero shows like Batman Beyond and Teen Titans did not.
  • Elena of Avalor has a large vast of Latin characters who all make an impact in some way. It's also one of Disney Junior's highest rated and most successful shows. Like its parent series, it also breaks out of the girl show ghetto.


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