'Dear White People' star sees Hollywood shift: 'Being ethnic is cool'

Logan Browning as Sam in Netflix's 'Dear White People.'

(CNN)Dear Hollywood, the star of Netflix's "Dear White People" thinks you're in the midst of an important shift. And she couldn't be happier to be a part of it.

She might be just 27, but Logan Browning has been in the entertainment business long enough to note that an increase in the industry's desire for diverse programming has opened doors for talent and storytellers of color.
"I think we're definitely in a wave of entertainment where -- it sounds how it's going to sound -- being ethnic is cool," Browning told CNN in a recent interview. "I think what writers are doing is taking this idea where networks want ethnicity and diversity and they're taking the opportunity to broaden it and make [characters] not so one-note and simple."
In "Dear White People," Browning plays a woman who's anything but simple.
Sam is a young radio host and activist who attends a fictional Ivy League college where the racial divide runs deeper than many students and the administration care to admit. Sam sees this divide clearly and isn't afraid to talk about it.
If "quirky best friend" and "neighbor" were once the best opportunities available for actors of color, "Dear White People," an adaptation of Justin Simien's 2014 film, is a sort of hallmark of an era made possible by the Olivia Popes and Cookie Lyons of television.
It's been more than five years since "Scandal" broke a shameful four-decade streak by putting a black actress in a leading role on a broadcast drama, kicking off a call for more inclusive television. Browning said the effects are being seen in earnest today.
"They're really taking the opportunity to show the depth and talent of diverse actors, which you didn't get to see before," Browning said. "I talk to my friends who aren't ethnic and they're like, 'It's hard.' And I'm like 'Welcome to the club. It's been like that for me for the last 13 years.'"
Browning's road to "Dear White People" was paved with work on TBS's "Meet the Browns" and "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse," as well as the PlayStation Network's "Powers."
Critical acclaim has swirled around "Dear White People," but Browning is most proud to be part of a show that's a conversation starter.
"I just love when people relate to specific characters because that means they're feeling represented," she said. "To be able to relate to [a character] and see your story in them, it makes you feel seen and gives you confidence to be you -- and not just be the label version of you."
"Dear White People" has not yet officially received a second season from Netflix, but it's had a strong reception since its debut last week.
Browning is hopeful about the show's future -- and the future of the industry.
"Maybe in some world, at some point, it will just be an even playing field and everyone will be able to walk into a room and no matter who you are or what you look like, [decisions] will just be based on who the best person is for the job," she said.
"Dear White People" is streaming now on Netflix.