Viola Davis Explains Competition Among Black Actresses Is Real

Davis says when in "deprivation mode," actresses will "claw at each other."

Posted: 06/21/2013 12:16 PM EDT
Viola Davis

In a roundtable discussion with Oprah Winfrey for this Sunday's Next Chapter on the OWN Network, Viola Davis (along with Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Union and Phylicia Rashad) opened up about competition among Black actresses in Hollywood. Union admitted to being a "mean girl" since she was eight years old, but Davis explained that when roles are scarce, women are more likely to get fierce with each other.

"We're in crisis mode as Black actresses," she said. "Not only in the sheer number of roles that are offered and that are out there, but in the quality of the roles. And therein lies the problem. We're in deprivation mode because me, Alfre and Phylicia, and you, we're in the same category. Whereas you take a Caucasian woman…they're all different. There's roles for each of them. But when you only have two or three categories for Black actresses ... you want to work. So it's a natural instinct, if you throw a piece of cheese in a room full of rats, they're going to claw at each other. It's natural."

Do you agree that there's a crisis and that competition is only natural when roles are so scarce for our actresses? Sound off!


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(Photo: Courtesy OWN)

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