Trends: Actresses Demanding Equal Pay

Emmy Rossum in 'Shameless' (TV By The Numbers)

Emmy Rossum in ‘Shameless’ (TV By The Numbers)

“Shameless” actress Emmy Rossum must’ve heard of Levo League’s negotiating slogan #Ask4More, which encourages women to ask for raises and/or equal pay. Earlier this week, Rossum was negotiating to earn equal pay, if not more, than William H. Macy, her co-star on the Showtime series. (And Macy was all for that.) Her reasoning is that her character features significantly in every episode.

Yesterday, Rossum decided to settle her negotiation with a new contract. Though there’s no word on the terms of her new contract, The Hollywood Reporter mentions the following:

Sources say Rossum had an offer of equal pay on the table. It’s unclear if she received more than Macy.

(I, for one, hope she achieved equal or greater pay.)

Actresses speaking up about, and publicly negotiating for, payment parity on par with their male co-stars has become a trend as of late. Robin Wright, the lead actress in Netflix’s “House of Cards,” threatened to take her fight for fair pay public when she realized she was getting paid less than the series’  lead actor Kevin Spacey:

“I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank’s] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public.’ And they did.”

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence most notably spoke out on the issue of pay parity  in 2015 when she penned an essay for Lenny. Lawrence acknowledged that she and fellow co-star Amy Adams got shortchanged with their pay for “American Hustle:” The two women each got 7% of the overall profits, which the leading men received 9% each. This information became public knowledge during the Sony Pictures Entertainment server hack in late 2014.

Let’s hope that more and more women start speaking up and asking demanding for equal pay. As Lawrence recalls, she “failed as a negotiator because [she] gave up too early.” Don’t give up!!

#ThrowbackThursday: Lucy Lawless in “Xena: Warrior Princess”

Lucy Lawless in "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Beyond The Marquee)

Lucy Lawless in “Xena: Warrior Princess” (Beyond The Marquee)

Who remembers this show? Originally a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess quickly made a mark of its own. Lucy Lawless starred as the titular character, a warrior princess (obviously) who travels around the world throughout various civilizations to redeem her destructive past. Her friend Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) often accompanies her in her adventures.

The TV series ran from 1995 to 2001, and ranked in the top five shows for ratings each year. It’s now seen as a major cult show. A rebooted series was announced in 2015; no word on who’ll take over the role of Xena.

Trends: Emmys 2016 Diversity

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

Rami Malek, Emmys 2016 (Telegraph UK)

The Emmy Awards aired this past Sunday night, honoring the best in TV. The twin themes  that popped out from the night were diversity and inclusion. And they played out in many ways.

Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek won Best Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first Egyptian-American to do so. Malek also became the first non-white actor to win the award since 1998, when Andre Braugher won for Homicide: Life on the Street. On the actress side, Black-ish lead Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Though she didn’t win, Ellis was the first Black woman to be nominated for the award in 30 years; Phylicia Rashad was nominated in 1986 for The Cosby Show. Ellis was only the fifth Black woman ever to be nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

Inclusivity also prevailed behind the camera. Comedian Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won Best Writing for a Comedy Series for Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None. (Ansari was also nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.) Women directors were honored: Jill Soloway won Best Directing for a Comedy Series for Amazon’s Transparent, and Susanne Bier won Best Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for AMC’s The Night Manager.

Diverse narratives are gaining more traction. Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year for his role as a transwoman.

It was good to see some progress made this year in terms of inclusion, but there’s still a long way to go.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Viola Davis Wins an Emmy, 2015

Viola Davis, Emmys 2015 (Betches)

Viola Davis, Emmys 2015 (Betches)

At the Emmys this past weekend, actress Viola Davis was nominated for Best Actress in a  Drama Series for her lead role in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” Though she didn’t win on Sunday night, she won the award in 2015, and made history in the process. Davis became the first Black woman to win the Best Actress award.

Crazy that seemingly simple milestones are still only now being surpassed.

No Shit: Entertainment Isn’t Diverse: By The Numbers

Hollywood sign (Mapping Megan)

Hollywood sign (Mapping Megan)

A new study released this week by the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism once again stated the obvious: Entertainment isn’t diverse.

If you don’t want to read the full report (though I’d recommend it), here are some choice stats:

Percentage of female speaking roles in film: 28.7%

Percentage of female film directors: 3.4%

Percentage of female screenwriters: 28.9%

Percentage of cable TV shows that have no Asian characters: 51%

Percentage of cable TV shows that have no Black characters: 23%

 

Still not convinced the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag is needed?

Idris Elba Makes History at the 2016 SAG Awards

Idris Elba at the 2016 SAG Awards (LA Times)

Idris Elba at the 2016 SAG Awards (LA Times)

The world’s hottest man (not editorializing, this is a fact and everyone agrees) made history Saturday night at the annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.

Idris Elba (you know him as Stringer Bell from “The Wire”) not only became the first man to win two SAG awards in one night; he became the first African-American man to do so. Elba won for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for “Beasts of No Nation,” and for Best Male Actor in a Television Movie or Mini Series for “Luther.” This is especially impressive as it’s the first year he was nominated for a solo acting award. Go Idris!

But Elba’s wins made a splash for another, more sobering reason: He’s the only film winner that wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. His fellow winners (Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant,” Brie Larson for “Room,” and Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl“) are all nominated. With the conversation around the Oscars’ diversity occurring for the second year in a row (#OscarsSoWhiteRedux), it’s worth noting for the future.

With Queen Latifah (“Bessie“), Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black“), and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder“) also winning awards, Elba welcomed us all into the future with the following words:

“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to diverse TV.”

I, for one, cannot wait to see how things progress.

Elle’s Women in TV List Is Most Diverse Ever

Priyanka Chopra, %22Elle%22 (Tribune)

Priyanka Chopra, “Elle” (The Express Tribune)

Fashion magazine “Elle” doesn’t exactly have the best track record in terms of showcasing diverse women. Over the years, they’ve lightened Gabourey Sidibe’s skin, and photographed Mindy Kaling in close-up. (Incidentally, Kaling was photographed for a cover of the Women in TV list for 2014.) But it looks like they’re finally getting it: The magazine’s 2016 Women in TV list is its most diverse yet, and three of its five cover stars are women of color.

Taraji P. Henson (from FOX’s “Empire”), Viola Davis (ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”), and Priyanka Chopra (ABC’s “Quantico”) each received their own special cover. And none are in closeup or otherwise “hidden.”

This is heartening step forward for non-white women to see themselves represented and recognized in mainstream fashion magazines. I certainly hope it lasts and grows from here.