Mindy Kaling responds to the reaction around Velma that makes the character Indian; “There are Indian nerds. It shouldn’t surprise people.”

Actress Mindy Kaling has responded to the backlash surrounding her Scooby Doo derived series Velma. In February, it was announced that the adult-oriented spinoff series was in development for HBO Max and that Kaling would provide the voice of Velma. Known for her comedy roles on shows like The office in addition to creating, producing and starring in his own show The Mindy project, Kaling is no stranger to voice work. having voiced Taffyta Muttonfudge in Break up ralph Y Disgust at Pixar’s Inside out. Kaling is also scheduled to appear in the next Monsters inc. Serie, Monsters at work on Disney +.

Iconic with her orange turtleneck sweater and pleated red skirt, Velma has been a fixture of various Scooby Doo series and films since its first appearance in 1969. Considered the brain of Mystery Inc., it is often presented as the most skeptical of the group and is often the first to deduce the mystery at stake. While Velma has generally been portrayed as white, including in the 2002 live action movie where she was portrayed by Linda Cardellini, it was announced that Velma will be featured as a descendant of South Asia in Velma according to Kaling’s own Indian heritage

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The announcement of Kaling’s participation was met with praise from a large part of the Scooby Doo fanbase, however, there was a backlash regarding his performance. While speaking in Late night with Seth Meyer, Kaling spoke about how excited she was for the project, as well as the positivity from the fans. He also noted that he had received some nasty tweets from a small minority, saying that “People weren’t happy. There were a lot of, ‘So, wasn’t it Velma?” Responding to the backlash, Kaling said he did not expect the backlash and that “I couldn’t understand how people couldn’t imagine a really smart nerdy girl with terrible eyesight who loved to solve mysteries, she couldn’t be Indian. ” You can read Kaling’s full statement below:

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First of all, I didn’t know that he provoked such strong reactions in any direction … He’s such a good character, he’s so smart and he just couldn’t understand how people couldn’t imagine a really smart nerdy girl with terrible eyesight who loved to solve mysteries, he couldn’t be an Indian. There are Indian nerds. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to people, but people say, ‘No, no, no.’ By the way, this is a small percentage of people. But it made me think, ‘Okay, we have to be very careful with this character,’ and we will because we love her and she’s going to have great adventures.

Velma using a QuestLabs laptop on Scoob

While it’s certainly discouraging that alleged fans are responding in such a way to Velma being portrayed as South Asian in the spin-off, it’s not entirely surprising. There is a history of similar reactions to a multitude of similar character changes, as evidenced by the vitriol that was shed after it was announced that the theater show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child he had chosen a black actress like Hermione Granger. It’s never justified, but unfortunately a vocal minority from any fan base will inevitably respond that way.

There has been a similar backlash when the animated series Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated introduced Velma as bisexual, although producer Tony Cervone has since claimed that he originally intended for her to be presented as a lesbian. However, it should be noted that when it comes to Velma’s race, there is a greater history of the character being presented as non-white. In the tv movie Scooby Doo! The mystery begins She was played by Hayley Kiyoko, who is of Japanese descent, and more recently was played by Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodríguez in Scoob! with Velma being represented as Latina in line with Rodriguez’s own heritage.

That said, while there is usually a small minority who respond negatively, the vast majority often accept such changes with open arms, especially in regards to Velma as part of the LGBTQ + community. Ultimately, Velma is an animated character that has been around for over 50 years and insisting that the character only be portrayed in one way is incredibly narrow-minded. Of course, there are some necessary concerns regarding the representation of the character in Velma and that it can be diverted to portray the myth of the model minority. However, with the show focusing solely on her and probably crafting a full narrative, along with Kaling’s involvement, Velma Hopefully, it will avoid this stereotype and bring a whole new dimension to the beloved character.

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