Monday, July 15, 2024

Overcoming the Actress Race Gap.

June 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(“Me Too”, doesn’t just apply to sexual equality, there’s another fight for equality as well.

Overcoming the race gap for actresses has been a struggle for decades, in particular women of color. When Viola Davis won her Emmy in 2015 for Outstanding Lead Actress, she made a profound statement that radiated among fellow black female counterparts stating, “You can’t win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there”. In other words, she was implying that roles for complex, engaging, challenging, or funny women should also belong to women of color. Black women have little to no recognition in the entertainment industry, making it difficult to obtain awards that display their talents. Viola Davis is at the top echelon of actors who are both famous and respected, and even she has to deal with the disparity. Imagine someone like Tiffany Haddish who is an up and coming female actress.


A huge reason for the disparity among pay regarding black women and white women are the perception differences among the two. An example would be the recent issue Mo’Nique had with Netflix. Her stance was she deserved more based off of her body of work. She felt that she deserved more than what was offered to her. She declined and decided to go public with the disparity. Netflix’s proposal would bar her from doing another special for one year and after that, Netflix would have first right of refusal to any future opportunities that would embark upon the comedian/actress. This would inadvertently stifle her ability to accept future offers presented to her. This was a deciding factor in Mo’Nique’s decision to decline the offer Netflix presented to her.

On the other hand, there is Amy Schumer who is relatively new to the entertainment world, specifically acting. She was offered by the same company Netflix, to perform a special that would compensate her roughly $11 million dollars. Mind you, that was just the first deal offered to her, with potentially more offers to embark upon. Mo’Nique has been in the business as a comedian and an actress much longer than Amy Schumer but is viewed as a lesser. This is an example of the disparity and inequality of black actresses in entertainment.

Stereotypical Roles

Black actresses have been embedded in stereotypes and caricatures for the longest and are demanding more roles with pertinence and substance. The term “Time’s Up” is synonymous with sexual harassment among women. But the term should also refer to women of color getting the same equality as their counterparts. Whether it’s a European woman or man, the individual should be merited and acknowledged based off their deeds, not the color of their skin.

For black women striving to become an actress, make sure that the acting program that you plan to attend sharpens your skills as an all-around actress and not just prepare you for expected roles that keep us in the stereotypical loop. Also ensure the acting program encourages individual artistic development, enhancing your level of acting to embark on roles that are meaningful, subjective, and well-rounded. Choosing the right acting program might ensure that future black actresses can have more opportunities than ever to take on roles that were shunned from us previously. As well as gaining the equal pay, respect, and recognition that their counterparts from other ethnicities experience.

Staff Writer; Sherry Love

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