Diversity in Hollywood has been a hot topic lately, mainly because of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. As we approach this Sunday’s Academy Awards, Black stars in Hollywood (including Ava Duvernay, Miss Lawrence, Mo’Nique and others) are speaking up more than ever about changes that have to be made in the industry. USA Today’s recent Hollywood diversity report showed that next year’s awards could exhibit the same symptoms because so few actors and writers of color have been hired for projects scheduled to be released this year.
Emmy Award winning actress Jackée Harry weighs in on Hollywood’s diversity dilemma in an interview with the Huffington Post. “They need to hire more writers who want to address it, like the man who created ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’ Shonda Rhimes executive produces it, but the man who created it, Peter Nowalk, he said ‘give me the best actor,’ and got Viola Davis,” she shares. “I’m not going say it’s got to be a black writer. It’s got to be people that want to see us on TV and who know how to write well… It has to be of greater quality… It’s got to be the people who have a vision.”
“I hate to say it, but there are no parts being written like that now for African-American females,” she adds.
Harry became the first and only black actress to win an Emmy in 1987 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role on the series 227.
While other black actresses have recently earned Emmy recognition (including, Uzo Aduba 2014, Regina King 2015 and Viola Davis 2015) black women in Hollywood “still have a long way to go” says Harry.