There’s a distinct lack of representation in the media for disabled people. They’re almost invisible in Hollywood and ignored in everyday life. It’s only now that there are people brave enough to speak up about diversity and representation that we are finally paying attention.
As much as we’re enraged when Asians are white-washed or how colorism is ever-present, we rarely see people talking about the limited opportunities for disabled artists.
Though there is still an ongoing debate surrounding roles with disabilities, the fact still remains that there is work that goes to non-disabled actors that could have gone to disabled actors instead.
Despite this, we want to put the spotlight on some young stars that continue to shine despite their disabilities. With the growing success of their projects, they prove that being disabled cannot stop them from moving forward. They prove that they can do things abled people can too and succeed.
The breakout actress of the new movie A Quiet Place is actually deaf in real life. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s new movie heavily centers around Millicent’s character Regan being deaf. The horror-slash-paranormal movie has almost no dialogue, so the cast themselves wanted to learn American Sign Language (ASL) for the movie.
In the film, their family is being hunted down by aliens and the only way they could be detected is through making a sound. The thrilling movie isn’t purely horror, though. It shows the value of family and what a parent would go through to protect their children.
Millicent being casted for the role in A Quiet Place is considered to be a win for the deaf community.
RJ Mitte’s character Walt White Jr is one of the key characters in the long-running series Breaking Bad. Throughout the show, very little fuss focuses on his character’s condition. His character’s identity doesn’t revolve around his disability. In fact, he’s portrayed as a typical teenage boy dealing with family matters just like any of us.
RJ Mitte, similar to his character, also has cerebral palsy. But even then, his character doesn’t even need to have cerebral palsy. Yet it wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t RJ who played the character.
Micah Fowler is never one to shy away from speaking his mind about cerebral palsy. At the age of five, he already started acting in Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street.
Now, on his television show Speechless, there’s no stopping this actor to keep chasing his dreams for a wider representation for disabled people in the Hollywood industry. When he’s not acting, Micah is an ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF).
Mandy Harvey’s America’s Got Talent audition is making rounds on social media again. Garnering about 26 million views on YouTube, Mandy shares her original song Try. Mandy lost her hearing when she was 18 years old. Ten years later, she decides to give singing a try again. “I left music after I lost my hearing, and then figured out how to get back into singing with muscle memory using visual tuners and trusting my pitch.”
Her touching composition gives us a glimpse of what she went through, some of the lyrics going, “I don’t feel the way I used to. The sky is grey much more than it is blue, but I know one day I’ll get through and I’ll take my place again if I would try.”
These artists are an inspiration to the disabled community and a living proof that they shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens.