As we all know, there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the Oscar nominations over the lack of diversity. The Emmys took notice and seemed to correct this issue by diversifying their nominations. That said, it can also speak to the diversity on television these days as How To Get Away With Murder, Empire, and Black-ish all broke out in a big way this year.
Emmy winner Uzo Aduba, who scored yet another nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Orange is the New Black, put it all in perspective. Aduba spoke with E! after the nominations were announced and said, “I’m really glad to see that room and the space in this country and in television has been carved out where… Today felt to me like, ‘ALL are welcome.'”
Not only is this a great year for diversity at the Emmys, but this morning history was made as two African-Americans were nominated in the same category. Taraji P. Henson (Empire) and Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder) were both nominated for Best Actress in a Drama. If one of these two actresses takes this award home, it will be the first time an African-American has won in this category.
Aduba gave E! her opinion on it, saying, “I would love it [if one of them won], not exclusively for that reason. They are women who are deserving. Their talent aligns with people who happen to be of color. I mean Viola Davis, I have seen her in every medium that she has done. Taraji P Henson who is a beast on Empire. These are two incredibly qualified actors.”
Viola Davis hasn’t been quiet about the lack of diversity in show business. She has often discussed the problems that darker skinned actresses face in the industry. “When you do see a woman of color onscreen, the paper-bag test is still very much alive and kicking. That’s the whole racial aspect of colorism: If you are darker than a paper bag, then you are not sexy, you are not a woman, you shouldn’t be in the realm of anything that men should desire.”
She continued, “In the history of television and even in film, I’ve never seen a character like Annalise Keating played by someone who looks like me. My age, my hue, my sex. She is a woman who absolutely culminates the full spectrum of humanity our askew sexuality, our askew maternal instincts. She’s all of that, and she’s a dark-skin black woman.”
What do you think about the Emmy nominations?
[Photo by Ilya Savenok / Getty Images]