The live-action cast for the new CW show Riverdale has been revealed! For a couple of weeks, Archie Comics have been providing us with updates surrounding the casting of Archie and the Gang, which includes, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, and more. Hopefully, we’re just minutes away from getting our first view of the show itself.
In February, two very important castings came into view. The first was the main character Archie, who will be played by KJ Apa, but then beside him was Josie McCoy, the lead singer and guitarist of the band Josie and the Pussycats. What makes this casting interesting and surprising (and all out amazing) is who they’ve chosen for Josie McCoy. The leader of Josie and the Pussycats will be played by Ashleigh Murray, an up and coming actress and too adorable to boot.
Now … Let’s state the obvious here. Ashleigh Murray is an African American woman, so it comes as a bit of a shock to see that Riverdale will have a African American woman playing Josie. In the comics and later cartoon, Josie is a caucasian red-head, but with this change it will mean a different representation of Josie and one I can get behind.
Riverdale has also cast two more African American women as the Pussycats. It should honestly be illegal for a band to be so cute. Irie Hayleau and Ashanti Bromfield round out the rest of the band. Irie will be Valerie, the bassist/tambourinist/singer and Ashantie will play Melody, the drummer. These ladies create and come together to form the heart that is Josie and the Pussycats. In the cartoon and comics, Valerie is an African American woman, but Melody is a Caucasian woman and blonde. Honestly, as an African American woman myself, who has also grown up loving and wanting to be a Pussycat. I couldn’t be happier to see this change.
Josie and the Pussycats were a big part of my life growing up. The biggest thing for me about this casting of Josie and the Pussycats is all about representation. It has and will always matter. In Archie comics, there was only Valerie to represent African American women. Later, there would be other characters, like Chuck Clayton and Nancy Woods, in the 1970s coming to Riverdale, but at first, there was only Valerie Smith.
The casting of The Pussycats is a very bold, different and smart move for the show. To make Josie and the Pussycats an all African American band is something of a dream; a great turning point for representation that was needed in Archie Comics.
With the changes made to Josie and Melody in Riverdale, the show is going in the right direction, allowing these characters and creators to try something different from we’re used to seeing. I admit, change is never easy, but Riverdale’s willingness to bring Josie and the Pussycats into this century with both eyes open to the possibilities and give them a new beginning as an all African American band is everything to love and more. It will be amazing to see these girls do their thing as this legendary band. It shows that the representation is there and that change is coming (slowly, but surely). It shows that this is the type of representation for people of color that is needed and wanted from fans. This is the kind of thing that creators should pay attention to. Whatever happens in Riverdale between these girls and the cast will be a delight to see and hear.