Predominantly Afro-Italian Cast In Netflix Series ‘Zero’ Makes History

The protagonists of “Zero” hope the series — which focuses on second-generation Black Italians and is based on a novel by the son of Angolan immigrants — will help accelerate public acceptance that Italy has become a multicultural nation.

“Zero” is a radical departure because it provides role models for young Black Italians who have not seen themselves reflected in the culture and because it creates a window to changes in Italian society that swaths of the majority population have not acknowledged.

Even as “Zero” creates a breakthrough in Italian TV history, on private networks, comedy teams are asserting their right to use racial slurs and make slanty-eye gestures as satire.

Activists fighting racism in Italian television underline the fact that it was developed by Netflix, based in the United States and with a commitment to spend $100 million to improve diversity, and not by Italian public or private television.

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