Fans react to ouster of Ashenafi
Posted Friday, May 01, 1998 - 5:38:08 PM
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Fans react to ouster of Ashenafi

GH Online has received an enormous amount of feedback since we posted our article about the firing of Senait Ashenafi. So much so that we've decided to let your voices be heard in this space. It seems to be a concensus that General Hospital is treating it's black characters poorly -- a situation that needs some attention. Are you listening, GH?

Since posting the original article, we've heard from some of you that Senait was not fired, but rather left of her own volition. The closest thing to an official statement we've found is that Ashenafi "left to pursue other endeavors" which sounds pretty ambiguous to me.

Senait Ashenafi's last airdate was Friday, May 15. The scene felt rushed and tacked on. Not at all like a planned exit. But at least the viewers got some sort of closure, unlike the mysterious and as yet unexplained disappearance of Simone and Tommy Hardy. Some viewers are hopeful that the way Ashenafi's exit was written leaves the door open for a return or a recast.

Here's what you told us of your feelings on this issue:

    Unfortunately, Ashenafi joins a long line of minorities "let go" in the narrow-minded superficial soap opera genre, still entrenched--despite bleeding liberal heart touch-ups in PR-rags like "Soap Opera Digest" to the contrary--in 1950s black and white separatist mentality. Whatever the reasons, they all ring hollow, lame, inexplicable, implausible, weak, lazy, and cowardly.

    And yet, more and more white characters and white actors are introduced to our daily TV. screens in their place. Even when a network has gone on record stating there is not enough money in the budget for new contract or recurring players--turn around, and there you have the Webber sisters in Port Charles, sans their parents and their brother, thrown into major front-burning storylines without any ties to those already on the canvas.

    The non-white actors who ARE still on and quite popular tend to simmer in backburner hell. Witness Timothy Stickney as R.J. Gannon on OLTL, Joseph C. Phillips as Justus Ward on GH, George Alvarez as Alex Garcia, Real Andrews as Marcus Taggert... What are TIIC doing with these gems? Pretty much nothing, but make room for the white folks to take over and take charge.

    Keesha could have commanded our attention, had we given her the chance. The same chance we're somehow willing to give everybody else who's white.

    And yet TPTB at GH fire Senait Ashenafi's Keesha Ward, so we can see more of J&B, Kat & Bat, Borg Boy & The Saint.

    The mind truly boggles.


    GH has been taking heat about the way it underuses its black characters. Well here's the coolest strongest character on the show about to be gone, she happens to be black, the others (Dara, Justus) are written as fools...

    Keesha didn't make GH for me, but she made it that much more special.
    Steven Fallon

    I am disappointed and more important, angry that GH has decided to let Senait go. She is a beautiful and talented actress that has done wonders with whatever she has been given. Her scenes with Sarah Brown last fall were explosive and she has great chemistry with Billy Warlock. The sad fact of the matter is GH never seemed to know what to do with her, Senait has a lot of talent, but the fans rarely got a chance to see it. That led to a lot of indifference and even hatred on some of their parts. Keesha was written into a corner and has never had a storyline of her own. What a shame.

    Senait is as talented as any actress on GH. Hopefully, she will be able to prove it other media. When one door closes, another opens. I wish Senait all the best. I hope she shows GH what they missed out on while she was there. I sincerely hope this is not the end for the character of Keesha since GH is drawing heat for their lack of substantive storylines for the characters of color.

    I liked the character of Keesha. I thought the actress who portrayed her was very talented. I am of African-American descent and I related to her character. I always thought that Keesha and Robin Scorpio should have been closer than Robin and that pointless Brenda. I guess since they both have that stiff Jason in common they could never be close.

    As a young black woman and long time fan of GH I find that the show has disappointed me yet again. The firing of Senait is just wrong, if the AJ and Keesha plot line ever got off the ground it would have been truly interesting. I would love to see more competition between keesha and Carly. We can only hope that the character itself will not disappear, and GH will be even less diverse than it already is.
    Gia Warner

    It saddens me to think this fine actress will leave GH. I really enjoyed the strength she gave her character. What will Justus do without her as his conscience? There are so many Ward possibilities and so little canvas.
    Donna Ann Young

    It is a terrible tragedy that the character of Keesha Ward will be terminated. General Hospital did not put forth any effort to expand her roles. A steamy romance with detective Taggert would have been wonderful considering the friction that exist with Justus. I agree that she and AJ did not have a chance, but to cancel the role is going a bit far. Should one assume that Dara and Justus are next? I am trying not to look at this as an issue of color, but one does wonder.

    I'm very disappointed about Keesha being fired from the show, she had a lot of talent but since Jason's accident you never utilized it.

    Frankly, I'm not surprised GH fired Senait Ashenafi. Why is it that GH has such problems writing dynamic, complex storylines for people of color? Yes, we must deal with racism in some big or small way every day and I do not seek to diminish that; however, we fall in love, have family trials and triumphs, deal with the ups and downs of careers and deal with the human frailties and faults of others and ourselves. Why is it the only storyline that's the least bit credible and allows the actors to shine in roles have in some way to do with racism only. And why is there an unofficial quota w/respect to actors of colors -- if a program has more than 3 non-white characters, watch out; at least one won't make it for long. The possibilities were endless b/w catfights w/Sarah Brown and her (Sarah Brown's Carly had too many schemes against the Q Boys not to affect Ashenafi's character, Keesha). Keesha and Justus could have a nasty falling out because of his strength!
    Erica T.

    I like Senait Ashenafi (Keesha Ward), and I think she should remind on GH and should be given a bigger part with AJ.
    Gertrude B.

    I am shocked and amazed that GH would fire the actress who plays Keesha. Although the other characters are wonderful, it is true that soaps either underutilize African American characters or don't deal with them at all. At one time, Justus Ward had just disappeared. Where is Simone Hardy? Detective Taggert is a psycho, but I like having him on the show. GH writers, wake up and smell the coffee. You have African American, Hispanic, Asian, and other non-white fans.

    Sorry to hear about Keesha. Why would they fire someone who is doing a good job? Excellent young actress who never had much of a storyline on GH.

    I was greatly saddened by the loss of Senait Ashenafi from GH. When she first came on - it was with the incredible talents of Joesph Phillips and the always remembered Rosiland Cash. They were absolutely wonderful, powerful and brilliant black role models, which at that time GH lacked. But she held her own with them, and surpassed, in my humble opinion, many expectations of an actress at her young age.

    Now with her dismissal, I am at a loss for the reason. She never had a chance, though goodness knows, she more than had and has the talent and innovation to shine! I, like many other fans of GH, are shocked and hope that it not befall any other African-American character as brilliant as Senait.

    Good luck Senait. I will always remain your greatest fan.

    I can not believe that they would fire her like that. She will be greatly missed by me. I remember the light that she brought to the Robin and Stone storyline.

    She will be greatly missed by everyone, and I wish her all the luck in the world.

    I do not think that the execs at GH should have fired her, I think that they should have given her another mate.

    You will be missed.

    I think that she should be given a chance to show her talents like anyone else. She's beautiful and maybe if you cast her with a black male instead of the ones you've placed her with so far, just maybe it will work out. Don't fire her before you've really given her a chance to stand out in the light. Take advantage of the talent that's before you regardless to whether she's black or white.
    Linda M.

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