Trina McGee is opening up about life on the Boy Meets World set!
The actress, who you may know for playing Angela Moore on the show, revealed way back in 2020 that castmates were racist to her on the set of the show. She made a heartbreaking tweet in January of the same year speaking about the awful names she was called:
“Called aunt Jemima on set during hair and make up. Called a bitter bitch when I quietly waited for my scene to finish rehearsing that was being f’ed up over and over due to episode featuring my character. Told ‘ it was nice of you to join us’ like a stranger after 60 episodes”
We all know ’90s television was dominated by white characters — Trina was the only Black actress on the beloved ABC show! She said back then three of her acting colleagues were responsible for the racist bullying she faced:
“I’m left out because of fear and jealousy. Crew was always great. Talking about three acting colleagues.”
The 53-year-old later revealed the one who called her Aunt Jemima was none other than Will Friedle who played Eric Matthews on the show. In an Instagram post from April of 2020, she said she had forgiven him for his actions after he offered a “completely sincere” apology. In July 2020, McGee called out Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong, AKA Topanga Lawrence and Shawn Hunter, for brushing off her feelings on set of the spin-off Girl Meets World.
Since then, things have been smoothed over. There doesn’t seem to be bad blood between the stars after apologies were said, but it’s still no excuse for their actions!
In a recent episode of Danielle, Rider, and Will’s podcast Pod Meets World, however, she revisited her time on set and explained exactly what happened and how it’s stuck with her for all these years.
On Monday, the actress confessed she wasn’t allowed to be in the finale episode because a crew member told her the other actors didn’t want her there. The podcast hosts said this wasn’t true, and she believes them — but what happened on set of the episode titled “Angela’s Ashes” may be most disgusting. Trina says she had to keep in mind something she calls a “Black meter”:
“Coming from Black sitcoms, I always had to have like a Black meter… My Black meter was probably down to a 2. I remember when I was doing ‘Angela’s Ashes’ episode, somehow my Black meter had slipped up and I was at about a 9. Michael came over to me and his note was, ‘Hey Trina, just turn down the Telma Hopkins about eight notches.’”
Turn down the Telma Hopkins?! This producer was seriously name dropping an actress from another Black sitcom to tell a young woman to change her performance? Disgusting…
She went on to say how “lucky” her co-stars were because they never had to worry about those types of things:
“I knew exactly what he was talking about and I did. … There are so many things you guys are so lucky you didn’t have to think about.”
Friedle then recalled the exact moment “Aunt Jemimagate” went down — and it was all because Trina was wearing a red headscarf:
“In my head, I attached no cultural significance to that whatsoever. I saw a person who I thought was my friend but didn’t know very well, wearing a big, red hat. That’s all I saw. I was like, ‘You’re part of the cast, so that means, I’m gonna make fun of you the same way I make fun [of others].’ I thought, ‘Gonna make fun of her red hat.’ That’s as far as my dumbass, privileged mind saw. So right before I walked on for my part, I walked by and went, ‘Love your syrup,’ and walked on to the set, thinking ‘Boom, zing! Just got her for her hat.’”
He went on to say the moment “mortified” him because he didn’t know the cultural significance of the name:
“I remember saying to you, ‘I assumed that was like you calling me the jolly green giant.’ You were like, ‘No, that’s not the same thing at all.’ Never use the time as an excuse but the mid-90s, I had no idea of the cultural significance of the Aunt Jemima character, any of that stuff… I had never heard that! I was mortified.”
It’s good he realizes there is never an excuse for this sort of behavior. It’s important to always be mindful of your words, they can really hurt! Even over two decades later the Angela Moore portrayer was still hurting from it! After their discussion, the two BMW alums hugged it out, showing there were no hard feelings. The 53-year-old recalls feeling “very small” during the incident, to which Will responded:
“How could you not?”
The 46-year-old says the moment “changed” his life:
“It literally changed my life. That moment was the moment where I was like, you can’t just say stuff. You can’t throw stuff out there, because you think it’s funny and walk away. You could be hurting people.”
It’s so sad to hear about all the racism and bullying Trina had to face during her career, but we’re so glad she’s doing better and was able to make amends with her co-stars. Always be kind, people!