PEOPLE: Viola Davis, Nancy Lee Grahn, Uzo Aduba and more!

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Emmys 2015: Viola Davis strikes diversity chord with black British actors.

It seems hard to believe that it took more than50 years, but on Sunday night Viola Davis became the first black woman to win the Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama.LOS ANGELES: HBO’s fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” won for best drama series and Jon Hamm finally took home a trophy for “Mad Men” the Emmy Awards Sunday – a night of firsts that saw a black actress make history.My Twitter timeline was ecstatic over the Apple Music spot, directed by Ava DuVernay, the celebrated and under-awarded director of “Selma.” How did a commercial steal the Emmy spotlight? She directly addressed the lack of diversity on television, saying, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” Sunday night, “General Hospital” actress Nancy Lee Grahn, who is white, took to Twitter and said that the Emmys were not a “venue [for] racial opportunity” and that Viola Davis “has never been discriminated against.” Social media was quick to criticize her, and by Sunday evening she was a trending topic on Twitter.

Grahn quickly apologized and then fired off a series of tweets that sought to explain her thinking. “I never expected every black Twitterer to attack … and after being on my knees have no [forgiveness],” she wrote in her series of tweets. She also said that she felt “betrayed” by people she “would’ve marched for.” This was widely criticized as being patronizing, as if her commitment to social justice was predicated on black people being nice to her.

Hamm – whose portrayal of seductive, mysterious ad man Don Draper on retro-cool “Mad Men” had won him rave reviews and transformed his career – finally struck gold on his eighth nomination for the role. According to Cate Young, author of feminist pop culture blog BattyMamzelle, “white feminism” is feminism that is aware of sexism but fails to “consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.” But as Young and others have explained it, “white feminism” is not necessarily feminism by white people.

Henson, who was nominated for her role in Fox’s music melodrama “Empire,” saying both were gunning for the other to make history. “If it’s been 67 years since an actress of color has won an Emmy [for best actress],” Davis added, “then there’s certainly been a line, and it certainly has to be acknowledged, like the emperor being naked in the room.” “Transparent,” about a transgender woman and her family, won five Emmys overall for Amazon in its first year with nominations for its scripted content, as it tries to catch up with streaming pioneer Netflix. However, following Davis’s win, Campbell said that as an actor from an ethnic minority “you can find that your avenues are depleted, your opportunities to shine and play fantastic leading parts hindered by the colour of your skin”. She added: “Viola is correct, ethnic minorities cannot excel in this industry until there is more equality, opportunity and diversity in the casting system. In addition to top comedy series honors, “Veep” – the misadventures of a female U.S. vice president who rises to the presidency – saw its star Julia Louis-Dreyfus win for the fourth time in a row. Co-star Tony Hale won his second Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy. “It’s getting trickier and trickier to satirize this stuff,” Louis-Dreyfus said in her acceptance speech, cracking wise about Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

Agbaje said: “There’s an assumption that we are just complaining, that people think ‘oh here we go again’, but the key thing that Viola Davies said that really struck home for me was that she talked about opportunity. Host Andy Samberg kicked off the ceremony with a musical video skit about the wealth of quality television now on offer, featuring several stars like Hamm and Kerry Washington, the star of “Scandal.” The star of Fox’s sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, Samberg hailed this year’s event for recognizing diversity. “This is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history,” he said, then quipping: “So congratulations Hollywood, you did it.

Only 13.7% of television show staff writers are minorities — and that figure includes men. (In a reply to an email requesting numbers of black female writers, or woman of color writers in general, a WGA representative said that those specific statistics were not available. It’s about the choices that the people at the top make in terms of what ends up on the screen, the stories that people want to tell – it’s as simple as that really. “There are changes happening but I’ve seen an emergence before when there’s this sudden realisation they should put more people of colour on screen but then that phase just passes, so I’m just hoping and praying that this is not a phase and is something that is part of what we consider to be regular TV. “I just hope that now we are in 2015 the people in those rooms, making the decisions about what goes on our screens, can think beyond what’s in the mirror.” It was as if they were being told, yet again, “There is only so much room for people like you here.” It’s a message that has been also spoken literally — one black woman filmmaker was told that the market could only support two “black films,” even if they were completely different genres. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Davis saluted show creator Peter Nowalk, executive producer Shonda Rhimes and the “people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black. “And to the Taraji P.

Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union: Thank you for taking us over that line.” While everyone else was in awe of the inspiring Tubman quote and the awareness of opportunity, I was most moved by the sisterhood. This is the same Viola Davis who was pretty much called ugly in comparison to lighter skinned actresses in the New York Times, the very same commentary that called Shonda Rhimes an angry black woman.

I’ve been a fan of the “If I shine, you shine” mentality since the ’90s, when Wu-Tang Clan and other hip-hop giants talked about winning through unity. But more recently, writer Ann Friedman has gotten credit for the Shine Theory as it relates to declawing cat fights and pushing sisterhood. “When we hate on women who we perceive to be more ‘together’ than we are, we’re really just expressing the negative feelings we have about our own careers, or bodies, or relationships,” Friedman writes. “Here’s my solution: When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her.” So when I say black girls rock, it doesn’t mean other girls don’t.

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