Black Contestants From ‘Survivor’ Reality Show Say They Were Edited To Fit Stereotypes

SANTA ANA - JULY 18: "Cops-R-Us" - Jeff Probst extinguishes Brice Johnston's torch at Tribal Council during the second episode of SURVIVOR: CAGAYAN, Wednesday, March 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

Black Contestants From ‘Survivor’ Reality Show Say They Were Edited To Fit Stereotypes

“I just got boiled down to a simple trope of a lazy, unintelligent person,” said one former contestant.

Published July 3rd

Written by BET Staff

Black alums of the popular reality television show Survivor are airing out the truth behind the long-running series.

In an interview with NPR, the first Black woman to ever compete on the show in 2000, Ramona Gray Amaro, claimed the final production footage was edited to make her appear one way that was far from the truth. Gray said this ultimately enforced negative stereotypes that are often placed on the Black community. 

"I became the lazy person, which is the furthest thing from the truth," she told the outlet. "That really upset me and it took me a long time to get over it --  to realize, we signed our life away. They can do whatever they want to do."

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Continuing to watch the show, which began in 2000 and is now on its 40th season, Amaro says that it has become more apparent that Black cast members are made to look a certain way. 

“I'm just saying, 'Do right by us,'” she continued. 

Another contestant, J’Tia Hart, who competed on the show in 2014 started a petition to push for diversity on Survivor, asking for casts to have at least 30% of people of color in their upcoming seasons. 

"What they don't do a great job with, is telling positive stories and connecting with the multifacets of being African-American," she told NPR. 

"I have a degree in nuclear engineering from a top engineering school. I'm a mother. I work in national security. I am very well-rounded. And I just got boiled down to a simple trope of a lazy, unintelligent person."

Cast alongside Hart, Brice Johnston, believes he was stereotyped as the "sassy, flamboyant Black gay man” and thinks that current conditions of the nation are due for change. 

"It's not just Black Lives Matter when it comes to the police," he explained. "It's Black Lives Matter [for us] as reality contestants ... our lives, our stories, we matter as well."

See a condensed clip of Ramona’s time on the first season, below:

(Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

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