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I initially planned on writing about the Republican Presidential debate and their use of what seems to be their chosen cliché for this political term “Bad Actor” used to describe people like Vladamir Putin or Iran or Michael Brown… and how badly they acted their roles as they auditioned to play the role of president. But then I watched Viola Davis become the first Black woman to win the Emmy for best actress in a drama series for her role as Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder, I decided to write about good actors instead.

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/685jYZGcFh8″][vc_column_text]Viola Davis’ win capped a week of ongoing conversation about the lack of diversity in Hollywood centered on the Matt Damon & Ben Affleck HBO Series Project Greenlight’s premiere episode. Project Greenlight is a reality show where Damon and Affleck select a director who will be given $3 million to make a movie for HBO. During the premiere episode, while deliberating who their choice should be, Effie Brown, a Black producer raised the issue of diversity to which Damon responded that diversity happens in front on the camera and didn’t necessarily need to happen behind it.

During her acceptance speech, Ms. Davis made it clear that without the people behind the camera – writers, directors, producers – she would not be where she is as a performer. She began her speech with a quote from Harriett Tubman on the elusiveness of that line where freedom awaited and concluded by saying that “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” And those opportunities begin with those who are making decisions behind the camera.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]A few years ago I had a theater student come to my office in tears because she had been cast in Romeo and Juliet. Let me clarify. This student was in tears because she had been cast as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Let me clarify. She was in tears because she was the only Black actor in the production of Romeo and Juliet cast in the role of a servant, costumed to look like a mammy including head rag, and directed to walk with a slight shuffle and with her eyes downcast. She was in my office in tears because I was the only person who looked like her ‘behind the camera’ so she sought me out to explain how she felt ashamed of the way in which she was being forced to act.

When I raised the issue with the director and costume designer, their response was “we didn’t know that this was offensive.” Which brings us back for the need for diversity behind the camera, so that there is somebody present who does know.

So while I congratulate Viola Davis, as well as Uzo Aduba (for her role in Orange is the New Black), I hope that the diversity debate continues so that the hundreds of talented Black actors will be accompanied by hundreds of talented writers, directors, producers because that’s where the real power to make significant and lasting change lies.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center” style=”” border_width=”” el_width=””][vc_column_text]Feature photo: Fox Broadcasting Company/Television Academy, Emmys[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center” style=”” border_width=”” el_width=””][vc_single_image image=”1507″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle_2″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” img_size=”thumbnail”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” el_class=”small”]

Rickerby Hinds, Editor-In-Chief

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