Black Women are Winning and breaking through the mainstream in Hollywood

Written By: Trish Bolden

Black women are trailblazing in the entertainment industry and achieving great success in Hollywood. However, in the 1990s, black women were vastly underrepresented at award shows such as the Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, Academy Awards. This was not just a problem with the awards shows themselves, but a broader cultural issue within Hollywood, where discrimination and a lack of opportunity persisted. Black women faced marginalization both in front of and behind the camera. Despite this, black women in the film industry are making progress in portraying diversity and inclusivity, with actresses such as Niecy Nash, Angela Bassett, Danielle Brooks, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Davine Joy Randolph leading the way.

In particular, Niecy Nash-Betts is a shining example of black excellence in Hollywood. At the 2023 Emmy Awards, she won the prize for supporting actress in a limited series and exclaimed “I’m a winner baby!” as she accepted her award. She thanked her life partner and wife, Jessica Betts, as well as Ryan Murphy, the showrunner for Dahmer, and star Evan Murphy, who helped her through tough times. She also gave credit to herself, saying “I wanna thank me, for believing in me and doing what they said I cannot do! Go girl with your bad self! You did that!”

Despite the many awards shows that take place throughout the year, seeing African Americans win in the film and entertainment industry and secure their position at mainstream awards shows is a truly remarkable achievement. These awards shows were created over 90 years ago with prestigious honors in creative categories, and since the Academy Awards in 1929, there have only been 23 Oscars awarded to black actors and actresses. This year’s 96th Academy Award’s Oscar winners included actresses Danielle Brooks, for Best Supporting Actress with her performance in The Color Purple, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in The Holdovers. Randolph revealed a beautiful moment upon winning her first, Oscar Award saying, ” I always wanted to be different, but now I realize that I just need to be myself,” she said. ” Thank you for seeing me.”

This recognition of black women’s contributions to society is long overdue. They have the right to be seen, heard, and listened to, and to be evaluated at a higher level. It’s time for black women to be recognized, celebrated, and given the opportunity to shine.


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