Viola Davis Says Paper Bag Test Is 'Alive And Kicking' In Hollywood

SUNDAY TODAY WITH WILLIE GEIST -- Pictured:  (l-r) Viola Davis on April 25, 2019 -- (Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Viola Davis Says Paper Bag Test Is 'Alive And Kicking' In Hollywood

She calls out the industry for colorism.

PUBLISHED ON : JULY 3, 2019 / 11:39 AM

Written by Moriba Cummings

It's no secret that Hollywood has a problem with colorism, and veteran actress Viola Davis is giving receipts through her own struggles in the business.

In an interview with The Wrap, the Oscar winner explained that darker-skinned actresses like herself have a much harder time securing roles of substance, and if they do, they are rarely portrayed as desirable.

"When you do see a woman of color on-screen, the paper-bag test is still very much alive and kicking," she told the site for its cover story on the Emmy Awards. "That's the whole racial aspect of colorism: If you are darker than a paper bag, then you are not sexy, you are not a woman, you shouldn't be in the realm of anything that men should desire."

Davis stressed that her now widely celebrated character in How to Get Away With Murder, Annalise Keating, defies all of those false judgments about women with deeper complexions.

"In the history of television and even in film, I've never seen a character like Annalise Keating played by someone who looks like me," she said. "My age, my hue, my sex. She is a woman who absolutely culminates the full spectrum of humanity — our askew sexuality, our askew maternal instincts. She's all of that, and she's a dark-skinned Black woman."

Elsewhere in the interview, Davis also touched on how Keating strikes a nerve with viewers and goes in-depth on why the infamous scene of her taking off her wig resonated with so many.

Take a look at her interview in the video, below:

(Photo: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


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