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'Guerrilla' drama creator defends characters' ethnicity

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/11/2017 By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, actors Freida Pinto, from left, Babou Ceesay and writer-producer John Ridley participate in the "Guerrilla" panel at the Showtime portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Ridley said he expected his "sharply political" TV miniseries "Guerrilla," about black rights activists in 1970s England, to be provocative. But the criticism he received at a London screening for the series' lack of a major black female character took him by surprise, he said Monday, April 10. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, actors Freida Pinto, from left, Babou Ceesay and writer-producer John Ridley participate in the "Guerrilla" panel at the Showtime portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Ridley said he expected his "sharply political" TV miniseries "Guerrilla," about black rights activists in 1970s England, to be provocative. But the criticism he received at a London screening for the series' lack of a major black female character took him by surprise, he said Monday, April 10. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — John Ridley says he expected his "politically sharp" TV miniseries "Guerrilla," about England's 1970s black power movement, to be provocative.

This image released by Showtime shows Freida Pinto, left, Babou Ceesay in a scene from, "Guerrilla," written and produced by John Ridley. Ridley said he expected his "sharply political" TV miniseries "Guerrilla," about black rights activists in 1970s England, to be provocative. But the criticism he received at a London screening for the series' lack of a major black female character took him by surprise, he said Monday, April 10. (Showtime via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Showtime shows Freida Pinto, left, Babou Ceesay in a scene from, "Guerrilla," written and produced by John Ridley. Ridley said he expected his "sharply political" TV miniseries "Guerrilla," about black rights activists in 1970s England, to be provocative. But the criticism he received at a London screening for the series' lack of a major black female character took him by surprise, he said Monday, April 10. (Showtime via AP)

But criticism that the drama excludes the role played by black female activists took him by surprise at a recent London screening, he said Monday.

He pointed to his track record of writing for black actresses in projects including TV's "American Crime" and "12 Years a Slave." Ridley won an Oscar in 2014 for his adapted screenplay of "12 Years a Slave."

Given that, he said, it was odd to hear that people think he's excluding women of color.

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