Entertainment

Viola Davis, SAG ‘Favourite Actress’, puts diversity centre stage

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This weekend Hollywood’s elite turned up in all their finery to grace yet another red carpet this awards season, the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The SAG awards are notable as a panel of working actors selects nominations, so it is an opportunity for peer and industry praise.

Among those to grace the Red Carpet this past weekend were Lupita Nyongo, the cast of Orange is the new black and Viola Davis who stunned in a floor length white gown.

Viola Davis, star of How to Get Away With Murder, was honored and visibly overwhelmed to be accepting an award for ‘Favorite Actress In A New TV Series’. The actress, who wore her hair in a stylized textured afro, took the opportunity to express her gratitude at being afforded the opportunity to star in such a role saying “So I’d like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill D’Elia and Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.’

It is possible that in those remarks Viola was addressing critics who have called her “less classically beautiful” (New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley remarked in September 2014), but even more so she addressed the topic of representation of darker skinned women, women of colour, and women in their late 40s on TV and in Hollywood.

Pride explores the issues of ‘Black actors’ playing roles not necessarily written with black actors in mind, and the question of underrepresentation in Hollywood in our upcoming February issue, out at the end of January.

 

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