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.

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All of the Oscar Acting Nominees Are White. WTF?

 

Oscars 2016 Best Actress Nominees (Reuters)

Oscars 2016 Best Actress nominees (Reuters)

Last week, the Oscar nominations were announced. Selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the winners will be revealed Feb. 28. But this year continued a disturbing trend that began last year: Not one of the nominees in any of the acting categories (Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor) were people of color (POC).

I use the word “disturbing” as it seems the Academy is determined to ignore stories and narratives that don’t fit within their very narrow worldview. It’s becoming increasingly clear that non-white stories are not only valuable (as we knew already), but make bank, both in terms of box office and in social influence. (See this past year’s examples of TV smash “Empire,” and movies “Straight Outta Compton” and “Dope.”) The Academy needs to wake up and see that rewarding diverse stories can only help their bottom line.

In terms of the numbers, here are some of the most recent POC nominees (counted if they didn’t win) and winners:

Best Actress:

Winner: Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball,” 2001)

Nominee: Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” 2012)

Best Actor:

Winner: Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” 2006)

Nominee: Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013)

Best Supporting Actress:

Winner: Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013)

Nominee: Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” 2008)

Best Supporting Actor:

Winner: Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” 2006)

Nominee: Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips,” 2013)

 

Viola Davis is the First African-American Woman to Win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Acclaimed actress Viola Davis made history last night when she became the first African-American actress to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Davis plays lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” now in its second season.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is finally beginning to recognize more diverse talent. Davis was up against Taraji P. Henson for “Empire,” which was the first time two Black women were nominated in the same category. Davis acknowledged Henson and 2013 and 2014 nominee Kerry Washington in her acceptance speech.

Some context for this win and occasion: The category has been awarded since 1953. Debbie Allen was the first Black woman nominated in the category in 1982. It begs the question: what took so long?!