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For almost two decades Ryan Michelle Bathe has made the rounds on such television shows as “Girlfriends,” “Army Wives,” “Empire” and “This Is Us.” But now she will be best known as one of the stars of BET Plus’ “First Wives Club.” The show was originally set up at Paramount Network, but in late 2018 it was moved to another Viacom network, BET. Then, BET announced it would be one of the first shows launched on its new streaming service, BET Plus. “First Wives Club,” which is from Tracy Oliver and loosely based on the 1996 film of the same name, is a show Bathe prefers to call an “homage,” rather than a reboot.
Your character Ari in “First Wives Club” is being positioned as a lawyer and friend first, before the relationship drama. Is it intentional for you to seek out roles that are notably empowered and educated at this point in your career?
Role - Kind - Lap - Bit - Something
The role kind of fell into my lap a little bit. I would like to say that it was something I went after, sought after, was part of a grand design on my part, but it was part of a grand design on a much more universal, divine plan. I was just obedient enough to say yes. But it definitely speaks to what I think people are trying to do now which is create roles for women that reflect the depth and the power and the vulnerability — making extraordinarily well-rounded characters for women. … People give lip service to it all of the time…but now I think we can really, truly say that people are making a push, and it’s because of the people behind the camera — the writers, creators, directors — they’re all working from that perspective. Even if they, themselves, aren’t women, the...
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