The Firsts for African-Americans keep tumbling down as Viola Davies takes 2015 Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Tola Adenle

September 25, 2015

Arts & Culture, General, USA, Women

“… the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” – Viola Davis in her acceptance speech, quoting Harriet Tubman.

 

From African-American first Hollywood “star” Lincoln Perry’s role that no black actor or actress would take today – even if he/she was going to have to starve to death – to glamorous Kerry Washington who was one of the contenders for the 2015 award, to many firsts in-between, African-Americans have come a very long way in opportunities for non-stereotypical roles in Hollywood.

In between Mr. Perry’s “laziest man in the world” character and Ms. Washington’s glamorous Olivia Pope in TV series Scandal are names that have become synonymous with black’s glittering though arduous-to-reach heights in movies and television. Here are just a very few of othe

Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar might have been for Best Supporting Actress in one of the world’s most popular movies, Gone with the wind, but her role as a maid that ran away with that award 75 years ago was not enough to let her climb up the ladder in role casting than that of a maid, her role in the epic movie; she would go on to act in over seventy such roles.

Sidney Poitier, who has starred in many movies, won Africa-America’s first Oscar – Academy Award – for his role in Lilies of the Field

Denzel Washington  has won many acting awards, including two Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, a Tony and he also directs movies.

Diahann Caroll broke the mode with her role in Julia, a television series. She was nominated for an Academy Award as well as for Julia, the role that made her a star and an icon.

One hopes that whatever barriers remain will tumble down fast so that these hooplas, great as they may be, need to end as Ms. Davis’ speech implies: “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there” nor for an Oscar or a Tony …

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Check out the story as reported by vanityfair.com:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/09/viola-davis-emmy

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015. 10:55 a.m. [GMT]

 

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