Viola Davis criticises Hollywood's lack of ethnic diversity in a moving SAG Awards speech

The actress thanked her producers for casting a "dark-skinned African-American woman"

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The Independent Online

Viola Davis received a standing ovation after giving a moving speech about racial diversity.

Accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, Davis called out the film industry for refusing to cast black and minority ethnic actors.

In an off-the-cuff speech on Sunday night, Davis thanked the producers of How To Get Away With Murder for thinking a "mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned, African-American woman who looks like me."


Davis said: "When I tell my daughter stories at night, inevitably, a few things happen. Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life, and then I build from there. And then the other thing that happens is she always says: 'Mommy, can you put me in the story?' And you know, it starts from the top up."

This awards season has been slated for being a "white out", with very few of the shortlists for major ceremonies such as the Academy Awards containing any people of colour. The lack of nominations for the film Selma, about the life of Martin Luther King Jr, was drew particular criticism.