As the Hollywood favorite “La La Land” continues to dominate the award season, it came to no surprise as the film brought in 14 nominations. But one major aspect to celebrate is the rise in diversity in the nominees. After receiving harsh criticism with #OscarsSoWhite last year, the Academy made major strides to diversify.
Network television hasn’t always been proactive about diversity in casting but when you look at ABC’s line up within the past few years, you’ll notice shows such as How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal and Quantico where women of color are playing lead roles. Well you can thank Keli Lee, EVP of Talent and Casting for ABC, for that. Click here for her one on one Forbes article.
At the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, the star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder became the first black woman to win the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Davis beat Homeland‘s Claire Danes, Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson, Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and House of Cards‘ Robin Wright. In her acceptance speech, Viola stated,”the only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
NPR’s Eric Deggans also wrote earlier this week that a win by either Davis or Henson would be a first “basically because black women haven’t had many starring roles in TV dramas until recently.”
Viola received an outpouring amount of support for her win from fans and celebs including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes.