Viola Davis-Being Black in Hollywood
“The Only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” -Viola Davis
First I want to congratulate all the winners and nominees of the 2015 Emmy Awards. It is an amazing accomplishment for any actor to be nominated for such a prestigious award.
I don’t have much of an opinion about most of tonight’s pomp and circumstance. I am simply excited awards season is here. For me, awards season in the entertainment industry serves to renew a hopeful excitement in my heart that it is NOT impossible to achieve ones dreams. During awards season I am reminded that these men and women are my peers in the craft of acting and performance. During Awards season I am inspired to work hard and give myself totally to my craft. Often times, however, during awards season I am also reminded that this Hollywood industry doesn’t have a whole lot of room for a guy like me. The reality of the scarcity of roles for black men and women in entertainment has never been a secret. There are lots of reasons given as to why but very few solutions.
In my career pursuits I often feel like I am caged in this world that says I lack value because of my race. Forced to sit in the shadows until we become useful. I am kept out and told to go away because my skin doesn’t sell as well as my white peers. “Maybe you should try working with Tyler Perry because you know you are handsome…for a black guy.” Perhaps I am a lunatic for even trying to be an actor if the opportunities are so few and far between. Truth is this is something I HAVE to do but that’s a completely different blog post. Despite all of this I remain hopeful and tonight is further proof that things are changing.
Viola Davis became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best leading actress in a drama. In the 66 year history of the Emmy’s Viola is the first. Her acceptance speech was riveting and was very reminiscent of Halle Berry’s Oscar speech. I love that she shared this win with her peers in the like Taraji P Henson, Halle Berry, Regina King, and Gabrielle Union. I believe that every time there is a win like this it is proof that the industry is beginning to see our worth. Everytime an Uzo Aduba wins an Emmy our voices become louder. The cage we have been put in for far to long is being torn down and I am more excited this award season that I have ever been. Even if I never win an Emmy or an Oscar, the fact that someone like me could be a recipient is enough to reignite the fire in me to knock down doors and be the best damn actor I can be. So I celebrate with these women tonight because their wins are my wins.
A proud black actor. A proud black man.