When Samantha Marie Ware held Lea Michele accountable for the “traumatic” microaggressions she said Lea forced her to endure on the set of Glee, Amber P. Riley tweeted a few GIFs. One featured her sipping from a mug. In another, she highlighted the movements to defund the policing system and prosecute police who kill Black people, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now, she’s opening up about what she’s experienced, and fostering a space for fellow Black actors to speak about their own experiences.
During a recent appearance on Real Quick With Danielle Young on Instagram, Amber expressed her support for Samantha, who played Jane Hayward during Glee’s last season. "I'm very proud of her for standing up for herself," Amber said, per Entertainment Weekly. "I am proud of her not being fearful for speaking her truth.”
Amber also said that she and Samantha have FaceTimed in the days since Samantha’s tweet led the way for other tweets from other actors, including Jeanté Godlock, Dabier Snell, and Alex Newell from Glee, as well as Yvette Nicole Brown. And Amber has also been touching base with other Black actors, ultimately leading to the formation of the #UnMUTEny hashtag.
Amber told Danielle that she had not read Lea’s apology, and that while she has “no hatred or ill will on that end,” she and Lea had not talked in two years… until Lea reached out to her this week. “She reached out to me, I responded to her and that’s where it ends for me,” Amber said. She added, “I hope that she has an amazing pregnancy, I hope that she has grown.”
Instead, her focus is on supporting Black creatives, and she is unwavering in her commitment. "There were a lot of Black actors and actresses that were in my inbox telling me their stories and were letting me know that they have dealt with the same things, being on set and terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of their show,” she told Danielle. Amber added that Hollywood’s history of only writing “the sidekick” roles for Black actors — “always number 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the call sheet” — enabled a toxic environment.