The Truth is Spoken at the Emmys

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Jennifer Corriolan, Staff Writter

The Emmys have been around for 66 years and yet, only one African-American woman has won the award for the “Best Lead Actress” and that happened on Sunday, September 20th, 2015. When Viola Davis won for her role as criminal law professor Annalise Keating, she shed light on that issue the night she won the award.

Davis spoke of a “line” that separates people like her and “a beautiful white woman,” a line that she can’t seem to cross.  “The only thing that separates  women of color from everyone else is opportunity,” said Davis during her acceptance speech. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

The television industry; unlike the music industry, has been slow to cast black actors in top roles. There is no equivalent to Beyonce on TV. Although Nicki Minaj will be getting her own TV, based on her life, it comes after the success of Davis. Behind the scenes, Shonda Rhimes has been doing her part in making sure that black women are getting the lead roles.

A BuzzFeed video read aloud real casting calls and most of them played into stereotypes.

A casting call for “hot Latina moms” who are feisty  reinforces the stereotype that Latinas are loud and crazy. Another cast call for a type D woman, dark skinned African-American woman who is poor and in bad shape. This  plays into the typical stereotype of black women, the darker the skin, the worse shape they’re in. Davis defies this stereotype, creating a precedent that women of color can have lead roles that are recognized and awarded.

 

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