Hollywood South actresses comment on Viola Davis’ historical Emmy win

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - ABC's hit show 'How to Get Away with Murder's' Viola Davis is the first African-American to win an Emmy in the lead drama category for an actress.

"The only thing that separates women of color is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," says Emmy award-winning actress Viola Davis.

Monday, Hollywood South actress Carol Sutton, who worked with Davis in 'The Help,' shares her thoughts about Davis' big win.

She says the 'opportunity' Davis mentioned in her speech is uplifting, but more roles for African-American women have yet to be realized.

"I don't know if I'm the one to answer that. Will it make a difference? I mean, you have to ask the casting director, the director, somebody who is actually casting us in those parts. Will that speech make a difference to you," says Sutton.

Local actress and acting mentor Jaqueline Fleming echoes Sutton's sentiment in her own way.

She calls Davis' speech 'impactful' and says it's a 'huge relief.'

"I was bursting with tears and I just felt like it's a small breakthrough in the right direction. We do need more roles that are written specifically for us with our voice. We cannot win an Emmy if those roles are not there," says Fleming.

Fleming would like to see more diversification in roles and hopes Davis' speech will act as a guide for the industry.

She almost gave up on the Emmy's all together and says it's about time history was made.

"I got to the point where I didn't even want to watch the Emmy's anymore because I felt like I wasn't represented," says Fleming.

Sutton meantime has been acting for almost 50-years and says Davis' speech gives actors more 'fuel to fight with.' She says she's been lucky acquiring roles in the business, but admits opportunities for younger women of color can be hard to come by.

Sutton says it's at least a step in the right direction and she remains cautiously optimistic for future opportunities in the industry.

"We just want to be recognized like everybody else. We just want to have our chance, like Viola said," says Sutton.

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