Whoopi Goldberg Wasn't Sure What Viola Davis Was Getting at With Her Moving Emmy Speech

Illustration for article titled Whoopi Goldberg Wasn't Sure What Viola Davis Was Getting at With Her Moving Emmy Speech

On September 20, How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis became the first woman of color in herstory to win an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama. “Let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said in her impassioned acceptance speech. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Veteran comedian Whoopi Goldberg didn’t quite understand what Davis was getting at.


“I’m not sure what it means,” Goldberg recently told BET. “Opportunity to do what?”

She continued:

“The truth of the matter is there’s been plenty of opportunity. I mean, Scandal. Let’s just start with that. Kerry Washington is there and she’s working her booty off, okay? But they didn’t vote for her. So, maybe the question is, ‘What do you have to do to get voted on?’ That’s the thing.

...It’s not that the opportunity is not there, because we’ve had lots of opportunities.”

Perhaps that’s true for Goldberg and if so, great! We’re all entitled to our own experiences and it’s nice that she hasn’t felt like her options were limited because of her gender and race. But what’s true for her isn’t true for other people. Factually, women of color have it harder than white women and men in the film industry. Couple hard data with Viola Davis’ experience and the recent focus on Project Greenlight’s Effie Brown and Davis’ truth becomes undeniable. Women of color have fewer opportunities.



Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky’s house is more infested with snakes than previously thought. [E! News]

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  • Bella Hadid won’t keep comparing herself to Gigi Hadid. [People]
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  • Hayden Panettierre is getting treatment for postpartum depression. Take care of yourself, Hayden. [US Weekly]
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Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Images via Getty and Instagram.


When you feel the need to name the most popular show that features a black woman to make the point that plenty of roles exist for black women, you’re missing the point.

Seriously though. Try to name the most popular show that features a white man. You’ll actually have to stop and think about it because it’s not a matter of how many there are, it’s a matter of narrowing it down to just one.