Here's How 'Raising Dion' Does Diversity Right, According To Alisha Wainwright
Raising Dion isn't the first superhero show to exist, but it's definitely one of a kind. Based on a comic book and brought to life after a crowdfunding campaign, the Netflix show centers on a young boy coming into his powers while his single mother tries to keep it all together. While the show takes the genre to new heights on screen, Raising Dion star Alisha Wainwright says the behind-the-scenes work is pretty super, too.
Wainwright plays Nicole, the mother of the budding superhero Dion. As a single parent, her main concern was handling life after the death of her husband — that is, until she realized her son could bend trees and make his toys fly. The actor describes the series as "This Is Us meets Black Panther," and TBH, I totally agree with that comparison. While the series has very strong sci-fi elements, it also addresses very real concerns, such as juggling working while raising a child and trying to explain racial bias to a young person of color for the first time. Wainwright attributes much of that real-world sensibility to the show's creative team.
"I think one of the best attributes of the show is something people don’t even see on screen; it’s that there is an incredible diversity off-camera," she tells Elite Daily. "So, [with] the producers and the creatives behind the show, there [are] a lot of diverse minds and a lot of diverse backgrounds in the writers’ room."
Wainwright says she takes pride in being part of a show that lifts up women and people of color on the production side, especially because she says she has never seen such a level of prioritization of diversity on a project before. "People get excited about on-screen diversity, which in itself is commendable," she explains. "But there are so many other jobs outside of talent and actors that need to have that level of diversity, so I applaud Netflix and everybody who prioritized that."
Wainwright also gives a nod to Michael B. Jordan, who serves as both an actor and an executive producer on the show. "I felt incredibly lucky [to have worked with him on the show]. You know, when people hear his name, they associate his star power and ... his superhero association [thanks to Black Panther], so, you know, he’s a great name to be aligned with. And he was a passionate supporter of the idea of Raising Dion," she says. "I felt like he was an advocate for me and for putting young black people [at] the forefront and [letting] them tell the story that is just about people, and it doesn’t shy away from our ethnicity and it actually celebrates it," she says.
Fans may recognize Wainwright from another supernatural show, Shadowhunters, in which she played the brave and bold werewolf Maia until the show wrapped up its third and final season in May. But before the Freeform series shot her into fame, the actor was actually on a much different career path, having studied botany in college. "I just realized that as much as I had the passion for science, I didn’t necessarily enjoy the job," she explains. "[I] ended up moving toward acting and these side jobs that eventually escalated to moving to [Los Angeles] and kind of getting involved in projects there, and I haven’t really looked back."
But while Wainwright's not looking back, fans of her newest show are wondering whether they will be able to look forward to another season of Raising Dion. As of Oct. 11, there's no word on the future of the show. But Wainwright has faith: "I mean, people who have watched the show are eager for more content," she hedges. "But in terms of guarantee, I can just be hopeful and grateful for the people that watch the show that they share it ... so I can just put that out there and hopefully it goes as viral as the kickstarter did."
Season 1 of Raising Dion is on Netflix now.