America, as a whole, has come a long way from where it once was. African-Americans, to be specific, have come from slavery and oppression to freedom and equality.
African-Americans have overcome the shackles of many oppressive situations throughout the course of our history, and Viola Davis’ Emmy win was proof that we are opening new doors for opportunity.
It was on Sunday that history was made. Viola Davis became the first black woman to receive the Emmy for best actress in a drama series. As Davis gave her acceptance speech, she not only spoke on behalf of herself, but on behalf of all black women working in the television industry.
Davis’ speech provoked an abundance of emotion from the many women of color in the audience. As this historic African-American woman stood and spoke, she unveiled that the only difference between African-American women and other women is opportunity.
One opportunity can make a great difference in an individual’s life. Davis’ speech pointed out that we should not give opportunities solely based on the color of someone’s skin, but rather on the substance and versatility that each person can bring to the table.
American television is beginning to evolve into a more diversified industry. There have been more leading roles on popular television shows given to African-American women and other women of color.
Television shows such as Being Mary Jane, Empire and Scandal are showing Americans that television does not have to fit into one specific mold because life is not like that.
In the real world, life is full of complications. It is not black or white, but it is every shade in between, and therefore television should depict that image as well.
Young children and adolescents are especially influenced by the images portrayed on the television. With this great ability to influence our youth, television producers and networks should make a greater effort to show that life should be about accepting differences.
Television should show that beauty, leadership and intelligence come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and genders.
As Americans become more accepting of change, I feel as though television should attempt to be a level above where society is.
Because the things we watch have such an enormous influence on our daily life, the television industry should strive to make America better as a whole. It is the social responsibility of television networks and producers to create a more accepting tomorrow.
America has a global image of being the land of the free and a place for opportunity.
Viola Davis’ Emmy win shows that, although not all opportunities in America were created equally, we are making strides in the right direction to have equal opportunities available for everyone.
Jakeyla Augustin is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.