In the moving acceptance speech she delivered after winning the Emmy for the lead role in a drama, Viola Davis succinctly summed up the problem facing women of color in the television industry. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
Davis has deservedly been championed across the press and social media for her speech, which went on to cite the trailblazing work of other black actresses and industry figures who she says redefined what it means “to be a leading woman, to be black.”
As challenging as it is for black women to find roles, there’s another group of women her words apply to who are even less visible on television. While black women accounted for 13% of female characters on prime-time television this year, Latinas made up just 4%, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film(pdf).
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