Taraji P. Henson says it ‘would have felt weird’ to win the Emmy over Viola Davis

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Black British actors and writers call for diversity.

Viola Davis made history on Sunday by becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for best drama series actress, but said there was still work that needed to be done in getting more diverse stories on screen.

This was followed by a tweet hailing Davis, the star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder who became the first African-American to win a best actress Emmy, as “the bees knees.” But Grahn said Davis has never been discriminated against. Henson, who was nominated in the same category, explained why she was delighted by her loss when she joined Ellen DeGeneres in a pre-recorded show that will air on ABC on Tuesday. However, this year there were three black actors nominated for the outstanding actress in a drama award at the Emmys, and the best supporting actress in a drama award was also taken home by an African-American actor, Uzo Aduba, for her role in Orange Is the New Black.

Like this is weird. ‘So when I went into it and I knew I was being nominated along side of Viola I just thought to myself God just please give it to one of us so we will never have to say that again. Ya know, let’s just break this barrier down and keep on pushing.’ It was a tough category with the pair up against Robin Wright for House Of cards, Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men, Claire Danes for Homeland and Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black. ‘Honestly, I would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her. 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”.

Meanwhile, HBO won 14 awards Sunday night, with Game of Thrones named best drama, Veep best comedy and the miniseries Olive Kitteridge best limited series. She added: “Viola is correct, ethnic minorities cannot excel in this industry until there is more equality, opportunity and diversity in the casting system.

Taraji, who plays matriarch Cookie in the ABC music industry drama, looked chic for her interview in a black dress with a cutout giving a glimpse of her cleavage and a thigh-high split teamed with black strappy sandals. 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.

And she agreed wholeheartedly when Ellen referred to Viola’s moving acceptance speech in which the 50-year-old talked about the lack of opportunities for women of colour and thanked industryites, including show creator Shonda Rimes, for doing something to address the situation. 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 phases 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.” – (c) Guardian News & Media Ltd, 2015

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