If by any chance you tuned into the series finale of HBO’s Girls, you might have been caught off guard by a melanin surprise.
Let us catch you up to speed. The lead character of the show, Hannah, played by Lena Dunham, is White. Hannah becomes pregnant by a stoner dude character named Paul-Louis, played by Riz Ahmed, who is an Anglo-Pakistani actor. Some visuals for you:
Well Hannah had her baby, Grover, in the season finale and surprise — the child appears to be Black. More visuals:
We’re no experts on genetics, but it’s highly unlikely a very White Lena Dunham would birth a baby that brown, considering the light-skinned tone of Ahmed. Some folks are not pleased with the baby surprise, calling it lazy and an unexplained element that deserves exploration.
Was Lena Dunham trying to make a statement? As a woman deciding to parent the child on her own, Hannah’s character would surely face obstacles with the added layer of a brown baby.
Girls hasn’t had a good rapport with the subject of race. It’s first season was criticized for an almost all-White cast. Once the show decided to portray characters of color, many said it seemed forced. Now, to have what appears to be a Black baby, who would have to navigate the mostly-White world of Lena Dunham, is not only a cliffhanger, but a missed opportunity to explore a very complex subject.
But do people really expect a lot from Dunham when it comes to nuanced narratives about race? You tell us.