Last Sunday, history was made at the 67th Emmy Awards, with Viola Davis being the first African-American female lead to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Viola Davis was not the only woman of colour to win that night. Uzo Aduba, who plays Crazy Eyes in Orange is The New Black (OITNB), was acknowledged with the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Regina King, who won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, for her role in American Crime.
Bessie, starring Queen Latifah also won several awards on the night, which included Outstanding Television Movie.
Following Sunday’s event, mainstream media headlines mostly featured Viola Davis’ groundbreaking achievement, however the number of awards presented at this year’s Emmys to women of colour on prime-time television is also a first.
Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba’s acceptance speeches were both filled with emotion. The same emotion that Halle Berry was ridiculed for when she won her Lead Actress Oscar in 2002. The same emotion which symbolises that roles for women of colour are fewer and harder to secure; hopefully until now.
The ladies who received awards at Sunday’s Emmys are all very strong actresses, and whilst I have not yet watched American Crime, Bessie and only watched a few episodes of How to Get Away with Murder, I am confident that their awards were well deserved. Crazy Eyes, played by Uzo Aduba in OITNB is easily my favourite character simply because she is known in the series as “crazy” but is highly intelligent.
Gone are the days where “alternative” TV shows are scheduled for graveyard shift viewing. Shows such as Black-ish, Power, Empire (I have my issues with this show, but anywho!), Scandal, OITNB, Luther, Devious Maids and Being Mary Jane are returning high numbers in TV and Netflix/Hulu ratings during prime-time.
I must admit it’s awesome to see more prime-time television shows with different ethnicities in leading roles. Long gone are the days where I had to wait between seasons to watch either the Cosby Show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Different World or The RealMcCoy, I now have a choice! WHOOP WHOOP!