Trina McGee has revealed that Boy Meets World showrunner Michael Jacobs once asked her to dial down her “black meter”.
The now 53-year-old actor was one of the only Black cast members on the hit 1990s Disney sitcom, where she portrayed Angela Moore, the longtime girlfriend of Rider Strong’s Shawn Hunter.
Before joining the family sitcom in season two, McGee appeared in various sitcoms featuring Black casts, including A Different World, Martin, and Family Matters.
Speaking on an episode of Boy Meets World co-stars Strong, Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence) and Will Friedle’s (Eric Matthews) podcast, Pod Meets World, McGee spoke about her experience as a Black actor working with “almost an exclusively white crew” on a show with the “whitest white cast”.
“Coming from Black sitcoms, I always had to have like a ‘Black meter’,” she said. “My Black meter was probably down to a two. I remember when I was doing ‘Angela’s Ashes’ episode, somehow my Black meter had slipped up, and I was at about a nine.”
“Michael came over to me, and his note was, ‘Hey Trina, just turn down the Telma Hopkins about eight notches,’” she recalled, noting that the creator was making a reference to the Black Family Matters actor.
“I knew exactly what he was talking about,” McGee added. “There are so many things you guys are so lucky you didn’t have to think about.”
The Independent has reached out to Disney for comment.
Elsewhere in the podcast, McGee explained why she hadn’t appeared in the series finale. “I was told, in kind of a weird, off-handed way by a very important person, that you guys all went to Michael Jacobs, and you said, ‘We don’t want her in the last episode. She’s somehow taking our light.’ [That] was the gist of it,’” she said.
“I was under the impression that y’all got together and did not want me in the last show, for some reason I was going to take some shine or something to that effect,” she continued. “That was really hurtful to me for a long time. To make it worse, people of colour tend to look into things a little harder sometimes.”
Upon hearing the claim, Fishel and Friedle were shocked, with the latter confirming that “for the record, Trina, that never happened”.
McGee responded: “I believe you. I can tell by your reactions. I have had that in my head for so long, and I’ve never watched that show. I’ve always felt like, ugh. That hurt me a long time.”