DIGGSTOWN’S VINESSA ANTOINE IS THE FACE OF CHANGE AS FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO STAR IN PRIME-TIME TV DRAMA
One of the first things on Vinessa Antoine’s agenda while filming the new series Diggstown in Halifax was to ride a ferry named after civil rights activist Viola Desmond.
Desmond challenged segregation at a cinema in New Glasgow, N.S., in 1946, helping start the modern civil rights movement in Canada.
Unlike Desmond, Antoine may not find her face on a $10 bill anytime soon. But she is also making history of a different kind, as the first Black Canadian woman to helm a prime-time drama in Canada.
“Growing up in Toronto, seeing faces on television like your own was virtually non-existent,” the 35-year-old actress said in an interview in Toronto. “But if a young person turns on the television in the future and thinks that they are being represented, that there is a possibility out there for me, then hopefully things will change.”
In the CBC drama debuting Wednesday at 8 p.m., Antoine plays Marcie Diggs, a corporate lawyer who goes through an existential crisis after her aunt commits suicide because of a malicious prosecution. Diggs decides to work in legal aid in Halifax finding justice for a diverse range of clients.
VINESSA ANTOINE MAKES CANADIAN TV HISTORY ON CBC’S DIGGSTOWN
The Scarborough native is the first Black Canadian woman to lead a prime-time drama on network television
With her role on CBC’s new legal drama Diggstown, Vinessa Antoine is breaking a barrier you might be surprised still existed. The Scarborough native is the first Black Canadian woman to lead a prime-time drama on network television.
“Its about time,” says Antoine, speaking to NOW at CBC’s winter season launch late last year. Her sentiments echo comments by actor Grace Lynn Kung, who tweeted about the lack of diversity in the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards nominations. With 11 television acting categories (not including child performance) totaling 55 slots, only five POC actors received nominations, all in supporting and guest performance categories. READ MORE