Kia Stevens in Netflix’s “GLOW” Image via Erica Parise/Netflix
8. Tammé “The Welfare Queen” Dawson
Tammé “The Welfare Queen” Dawson enters the GLOW ring as one of the most harmful stereotypes represented on this show. Sam and Bash create her character as the mythological black woman who lives like a queen completely on benefits provided by the government. This myth was especially rampant in the ’80s and has not simmered down much in the 30 years since.
Tammé meets with Sam early on in the show to tell him how uncomfortable she is with her character, because she is concerned about what public perception will be. She tells him that her son goes to Stanford and that she does not want him to turn on the TV to see his mom and encounter The Welfare Queen. There is a level of concern for the fact that the audience likely will not see past the stereotype to the woman underneath that is expressed most eloquently by Tammé in this scene.
Eventually, she does opt to embrace the character for the sake of the show. She takes the character even further than Sam and Bash likely imagined when they gave it to her, doing her best to get under Liberty Belle’s skin and earning the support of all of the GLOW women for being so over the top.
Kia Stevens plays Tammé with aplomb that is, honestly, unmatched by anyone else in the cast. She stands out for her ridiculous facial expressions and top-notch reactions, as well as her flair for the dramatic.