Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Actresses of Color Who Deserve 'Better' Careers...


The image above may be startling, but it's an image that I think perfectly captures why these kinds of posts are important.  Actresses come in all shapes, sizes and colors and yet it's pretty consistent that the whiter, thinner and younger you are, the more prominent you'll be in the Hollywood community.  We've discussed this before, starting when I posted my Ten Most Interesting Actresses in Hollywood post, which lead to The Fisti Recast-athon.  And now Wendell over at Dell on Movies has constructed a list (which led to another) about Actresses of Color Who Deserve Bigger Careers.

So, of course I wanted to play along and give my own list, but I'm cheating a bit.

First, I'm not limiting myself to ten, because, well, NO...and I'm changing one word in Dell's post to incorporate a few actresses that I think deserve something 'better'.  Yup, I'm not just talking 'bigger' careers here...I'm talking better ones.

Let's get started:


Now, Dell mentioned quite a few names already, and so I've tried to think of names he hasn't broached yet.

Let's start with actresses who have 'I guess you could call it' big careers that deserve better ones.  I'm going to start right now by saying that Eva Mendes and Zoe Saldana are not on this list because, while they certainly deserve better careers, they are actively working in quality films with a range of quality directors and so they are doing their part in stretching themselves or at least getting the opportunity to do so.

But let's talk two huge personalities who seem to be forgotten because they are, without a doubt, CELEBRITIES.


I know, she's a HUGE celebrity and so she has, arguably, a big career and a 'good' one and yet, not so much.  Take a gander at her filmography and you'll see a slew of stereotypical 'loudmouthed black girl in a sea of white women' roles that misuse her charisma for a cheap shot.  Sure, she's anchored blockbuster (or sorts) comedies and has had some success within her community, but overall, despite HEAPS of charisma, charm, wit and beauty (not so mention an Oscar nomination), she's never been given the chance to fully develop her talents for a wider audience.  Maybe The Queen has too much working against her.  Not only is she black, but she's overweight and is a lesbian.  It's a shame that, in years from now, Latifah will be remembered for...Beauty Shop?  Remember when she delivered that raw, intense, star turn in Set it Off?  I want more of that, and she deserves it.


Now, Jennifer Lopez is a STAR, but much like the aforementioned Queen, Lopez is better known for her celebrity persona than for her acting.  It may actually hurt her that she's, you know, one of the most beautiful women on the planet, but the fact remains that J-Lo is extremely talented.  She oozes charisma and holds your attention, even in the most mundane of films, and sadly she seems to only be offered the most mundane.  Her filmography is...a total mess...a mess of trying really hard in films that can only be described as 'cheap knock-offs of Oscar bait'.

Moving on, let's talk about how television killed the film star.  I say this with a mix of love (for my film stars) and ignorance (because I don't watch TV), but it's a shame when a real bright talent in the film world struggles so much to find roles that are worthy of their name that they wind up going to television.  Why is this a shame?  Because once they get snatched up for TV, the film roles become smaller and fewer and farther in-between.


Yes, she has two Oscar nominations to her name and a hit TV show...but let's get real, her career is not what it should be.  Take a glance at the roles she's getting.  I've noted this during the Recast-athon, but black actresses, all too often, get relegated to black roles.  Famous singer has a drug addicted mother, slave, struggling single mother in a rough neighborhood, maid...OR, sidelined character with no discernible personality.  Sure, it may be a role with a title (Captain, Leader, President), but let's be honest here...those characters are never the good roles.  Even her role in Prisoners was so undercut by the white people in the film it was ridiculous...and SHE IS THE ONE WITH THE OSCAR PEDIGREE!!!


I want to take you back to 2005.  I little film about a pimp and his pregnant hooker became this surprising Oscar thing and a little known actress by the name of Taraji P. Henson became a sensation.  Her reviews were beautiful, a star was born, and she was looking at a great career.  Oh, wait, if she had been white maybe that would have happened, but instead she followed her deeply moving star turn with...sidelined sassy supporting roles in 'black movies' that no one takes seriously, or lifeless 'mom' roles.  What the hell?  David Fincher directed her to an Oscar nomination (although, let's be honest, that role was rather...undeserving) and since then she went right back to a sea of mediocrity in films no one outside of the black community bothers to watch.  Now she's on TV, slaying it and earning Emmys and shoving her talent in the face of all the directors and producers that passed her over.


I don't think anything pisses me off as much as Kerry Washington's career.  I remember about a year ago being in line for the movies and hearing some the people in front of me talking and one of them literally said the words, "that black girl from Django Unchained" and it really struck me that most people have no idea who Kerry Washington is.  Like, Scandal is starting to change that and yet, probably not a whole lot (to be honest).  Kerry Washington, if I had to make a list now, would probably land in my Top Ten most talented actresses working today.  She's that good.  Sadly, you wouldn't be able to guess that from her filmography.  I first took note of her back in 2001, when she SLAYED as the concerned best friend in Save the Last Dance, and she's been turning in quality work in films beneath her ever since.  Every once in a while she gets a film and a role that allows her to shine, but unfortunately she's often in films that no one watches.

Alright, now let's take a look at a few actresses who Oscar embraced...once...and then everyone forgot about:


The more I reflect on Kikuchi's tremendous turn in Babel, the more irritated I become that no one in Hollywood will work with here.  You know how many big directors made 'important' films that could use the touch of a soul like Kikuchi.  Forget the fact that she was LEAGUES ahead of the other nominees that year, including the winner (who happened to be of color), but the fact that her career post-nomination has been so sparse is depressing.  English being a (less than) second language may be a problem, but her work in both Babel AND The Brothers Bloom prove that she doesn't need to speak to steal all of our attention.  She needs more work; period.


Remember back in 2003 when out of nowhere (sort of nowhere) this Australian born child actress in this little seen yet passionately adored movie snatched up an Oscar nom ahead of the likes of Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman and Scarlett Johansson?  Remember how just a few short years later she raised controversy by getting knocked up at 16 right after playing Jesus' mother?  Remember how that killed her career?  Yeah, that was ridiculous, but unfortunately Keisha Castle-Hughes has pretty much been forgotten post-Oscar nom.  I fear that this could also happen to Quvenzhane Wallis (not the pregnancy thing, but the 'you've been forgotten' thing).  There are only so many 'quality' child roles out there, and unfortunately they go to the white blonde girl.


What the HELL happened to Sophie Okonedo?  I mean, she came out of nowhere with a beautifully textured performance in Hotel Rwanda and then she was given hands for feet in some terrible sci-fi flick with Charlize Theron and then...nothing.  She did some more action flicks, some TV movies and then in 2008 she was supposed to return to us with a biopic, Skin, that sounds SO OSCAR BAITY but it wound up in development hell and I think got a Direct to Video release and I think four people saw it.  Since then...After Earth?  WHAT THE HELL?


Shohreh should be everywhere.  She's a tremendous actress with such depth to her delivery, and yet after securing her Oscar nomination in 2003 (for a performance that was heads and shoulders above her competition), she secured a recurring spot on TV's 24 and then...got sidelined (or forgotten about).  The film world gave up on her.  It's hard enough for middle-aged women to find worthy roles...but women of color...forget about it!  It's a shame too, because she's incredible!

Now, let's look at talent Hollywood doesn't understand:


When Terence Malick cast Kilcher as the lead in his 2005 re-telling of the story of Pocahontas, two things were quite clear.  1) he has found a beacon of actressing light...and 2) Hollywood was going to screw her over.  Sadly, Hollywood is of the thinking that the US is inhabited by tall, skinny white people and that other nationalities only exist in history and as immigrants.  There is no way that Hollywood would consider casting an American Indian as the love interest to anyone unless her storyline were historic (thus, Pocahontas) or the subject of controversy (oh no, how dare you date someone who isn't white and blonde!).  I have to say, the fact that she wasn't cast as Tiger Lilly in Joe Wright's Pan still pisses me off.

I also fear that this same mentality is going to prohibit another actress from making a real name for herself.


It's early yet to be talking about Nyong'o's lack of career, and you could argue that I'm not talking about Gugu Mbatha-Raw or Carmen Ejogo here, but the reason for that is that I highly expect them both to do VERY well in Hollywood.  Nyong'o is one I worry about.  Despite having an Oscar, let's remember that she has an Oscar from portraying an African slave, and despite the fact that she is a KNOCKOUT, she is VERY African looking.  It's worrisome that the only films she has on her slate since her Oscar win are either films where she is playing an African or films where she is playing a motion-capture creature (in one she's an alien, in the other she's an animal).  With such natural charm and grace, Nyong'o needs to be the love interest in a Woody Allen comedy or the troubled wife in a British drama (YES that accent), but sadly Hollywood with read her name and see her face and think..."I'll call her when I need an African".

And now let's talk typecast actresses who definitely deserve better.


Girl gets a bad rap for being a...tough cookie, and her opinionated persona doesn't help much, but the fact that the only job she seems to get is reprising the same role in that one franchise that doesn't want to die even though it's star did is kind of depressing.  It's even more depressing when you consider that Rodriguez's breakout role came in 2000's Girlfight, which snagged her a slew of awards from the likes of NBR, Spirits and Gothams.  Then, the next year, she stared in The Fast and the Furious and from there she became the go-to girl for that action movie that needs a 'bitch' as a sidekick.  Typecasting at its worse, since she's so much more gifted than that, and yet Hollywood seems pretty content with refusing to allow her to show us that.


What is so depressing about Zhang's career is that, back in 2005, it seemed like she was going to be the one to break that longstanding separation of Asian actresses and Hollywood productions.  For too long, Asian actresses have been held at arms length, swooned over in their native action flicks but never wholly embraced by American audiences.  Even despite her shattering performance in 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, she still remained a nobody in America until 2005 brought us the much publicized Memoirs of a Geisha and Zhang came inches from an Oscar nomination.  Her star was truly rising, and her acting chops were proven.  And then nothing.  In fact, looking over her filmography makes it pretty obvious that even her homeland hasn't used her properly since her star making year.  I'm perplexed and annoyed by this whole thing.

Now, Dell already mentioned a SLEW of actresses I wanted to mention.  Rosario Dawson, Kimberly Elise, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan, Regina King...these are all names I would have included had he not already snagged them.  But, I want to talk about a few names he didn't include that some of you may not have heard of.  These are the talented actresses working in the Indie scene who deserve more recognition for their work.


I blame the world not knowing who she is on the fact that her breakthrough performance in Middle of Nowhere (which won her the Gotham) was denied US distribution (weird) for two years, because we all should have been talking about her back in 2012...and instead we are now just finding out who she is.  Sadly, audiences are going to have easier access to her work in Addicted than they are to her lauded turn in Ava DuVernay's beautiful film, but hopefully her turn alongside Cheadle in Miles Ahead will change all of that.


Do you know who Adepero Oduye is?  Sadly, you probably don't, but if you do then you know she deserves a bigger career.  This girl has such depth to her gaze, for she's able to create so much internal turmoil without overwrought dramatics, and she needs a proper platform to express that.  I wish that her performance in 12 Years a Slave had been just a touch longer, for she was so organic and so haunting, and she proved that she is made for the camera.  Sadly, I'm afraid that her dramatic looks could prohibit her from getting the range of roles she deserves.


There are few debut performances as rich and commanding and haunting as what Shareeka Epps did in 2006's Half Nelson.  Sadly, she had the misfortune of starring alongside Ryan Gosling in his personal breakthrough with Oscar and the world in general.  So much buzz and talk was heaped on Gosling that poor Shareeka was left out, despite a slew of rave reviews and nominations.  It also didn't hurt that Jennifer "I sang for my Oscar" Hudson was snagging all of the breakthrough 'actress' buzz (something I still don't get).  Epps has only a handful of credits to her name, but she's young and black and so that is automatically against her 'rising star'.  She's wandering around Independent hell at the moment, trying to find that other film that catches fire for her, but I fear she may not get it.


She's been working the Indie scene for a while now, but it wasn't until she stole the show in 2013's Fruitvale Station that Melonie Diaz became a name we took note of.  Sadly, she hasn't been given her due since.  She's a stunning beauty with an obvious gift, but unfortunately the roles she should be offered are going to the likes of Mia Wasikowska and Jennifer Lawrence.  It's a shame, because she gave such natural light and warmth in Fruitvale, shining through as a real portrait of honest acting.  She should be a force, and she will be, if ever given the chance.

Now, I'm going to indulge my teenage-self here and add one more...


Now I'm showing my age a bit, but I grew up with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and I grew up with a massive crush on Tatyana Ali.  Her subsequent disappearance from fame after the show ended baffles me.  She has the look and the charm and she handled fame well (at least she appeared to) and there are endless possibilities for an actress of her age to snag prime roles in film.  Sometimes I think it's really hard for an actor who starts on television to separate themselves from that particular character in order to branch out in the film world.  In fact, no one from that show (outside of Will Smith himself) made anything of themselves post-Fresh Prince.  It's a shame, really.

48 comments:

  1. Completely agree on Rinko Kikuchi, she was terrific in Babel but she hasn't been able to do much in Hollywood besides Pacific Rim

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    1. It's a shame. She is so talented, and she has range!

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  2. I agree with you on a lot of these. When I found out Lupita Nyong'o was going to be in the latest Star Wars, I was thrilled. That is until I found out she was playing a motion capture alien. I'm still excited to see the movie, but still.

    Even Gugu Mbatha-Raw seems to be suffering a similar fate since in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast adaptation, she's playing a French maid turned feather duster. It would've actually been nice to see her play Belle. When I saw that Gugu was playing a motion capture character, I was like "C'mon Hollywood! You can do better than that!"

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    1. A reason I didn't include Gugu was that her slate is already filling with some nice work. She's in Courtney Hunt's sophomore film, she's in Will Smith's new sports drama and she'll be playing Matthew McConaughey's wife in next year's historical biopic, The Free State of Jones. We'll have to wait and see how great her roles are, but it looks like Hollywood is taking advantage of her rising star.

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    2. True. Hollywood looks to be taking advantage of her better than Lupita Nyong'o. Nyong'o is an Oscar winner and was named People's Most Beautiful Woman yet she is still relegated to playing CG characters. A little sad, but what can you do?

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    3. I hope things change for her, and if her movie with Nair is a hit (it is Disney, after all), then maybe Hollywood will consider her bankable enough to give her better roles.

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  3. Yes to all of this! Great post, I agree that all of these actresses deserve better careers. They are too talented for the roles they are getting currently. I would also add Octavia Spencer here, because even after giving spectacular performances in The Help and Fruitvale Station, as well as others, she has only been able to work steadily, and she still has not got any leading roles. Yvette Nicole Brown & Rosie Perez are two actresses who also come to mind.

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    1. I'm not the biggest fan of Spencer, so I'm kind of ok with her not having a great career, but in principle, with her accolades and name recognition, she should have more offers.

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  4. Excellent post. The only one I disagree with is Jennifer Lopez. She's a terrible actress, and I wish she would just stick to singing. I'm always a bit baffled that she shows up to present at the Oscars and Globes every year. She makes terrible movies.

    I'm glad Adepero and Diaz are on this list. They were the first people I thought of when I saw the title. Queen Latifah should have a bigger career because like you said, she has a ton of charisma. Hollywood really should do more with actresses like Kikuchi and Zhang. I'd even throw Devon Aoki in there too.

    Castle-Hughes is usually very reliable, that's why I was a bit shocked she was so bad on Game of Thrones last season. Hopefully she picks it up next season. I think a big problem for her was she had a baby when she was 16. I think that threw her off the Hollywood map very quickly.

    And finally Kilchner. I expected her to be bigger too. A New World was so high profile for her. I remember there were rumors she was in the running for a role in Twilight (which as awful as those films are, they would've given her more exposure)

    Yeah, pretty much all these actresses deserve better careers.

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    1. NO! What's with the J-Lo hate? She's got infectious charm and carries her movies really well, at least I think so. I'd love to see what a top tier director does with her. She needs a smart comedy that relies on her charisma but doesn't dumb her down. Let her be a stereotype in a Woody Allen flick, just as long as her character is sharply written (as are almost all of his creations).

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    2. But she's just so...bad. she's a great singer and stage performer, but movies aren't her thing.

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    3. She's not!!! LOL! Maybe I'm blinded by her absolute hotness...but I just love watching her.

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  5. Good list and I agree all these women should have more opportunities, except perhaps Lopez who gives me a pain. She reeks of phoniness, so sweet in public and apparently a complete high maintenance bitch in private and could she PLEASE put some clothes on! She's got a good body but I don't need to see it every single time she's on somewhere, it's a joke at this point to see how close to exposing her nipples her neckline can get and it's not going to help her gain respect or better roles.

    Anyway while I'm glad that Viola Davis has worked her way to her deserved place of recognition and has a high profile series, which I wanted to love but don't, I think her move to TV spells the end of her big screen career unless some extraordinary part comes along. She'll be too busy carrying the show, without her it's nothing.

    I weep for Shohreh Aghdashloo so very, very brilliant in House of Sand and Fog, she should have won that Oscar. She should have had a brilliant career, she was at pretty close to the exact right age at that time to achieve that goal and I think had she come along in the 70's/early 80's when strong women roles were more plentiful and Fonda, Burstyn, Close and MacLaine ruled the box office along with the men she might have had a better shot. A real shame.

    Love Queen Latifah but with exceptions like Last Holiday, which might not have been ideal but allowed her free range to display her charm, she's too unique to fit easily into leads. That's a shame but a career as a high profile character actress isn't bad expect she doesn't seem to be getting offered those roles either. A real waste.

    For these women and many of the others on your list TV with its cable outlets and to a lesser extent networks while not having the cache of film stardom at least offers them a chance to actually act and get a chance to use and share their gifts.

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    1. MORE J-LO HATE!?!?! I will not stand for this. And I will also never ask her to put on more clothes!

      Amen to everything else, though. I would love it if Queen were utilized as the proper character actress she should be, but sadly she's demoted to obnoxious characters in cheap comedies. It's just WRONG!

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  6. Good list! All deserving of better film roles, but thankfully TV is filling that gap. Hopefully more of them will get seek out some good roles there and flourish. Like HBO's 'Confirmation' for example. There aren't many theatrical films I'm anticipating more than that. Kerry's gonna be so great.

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    1. Yeah, TV is at least offering them work, but I really wish more film roles on these girls. They deserve them. I mean, someone like Kerry Washington SHOULD have a monstrous film career by this point in her career. She's THAT good and has been THAT good for over a decade. It's preposterous that it took pretty much 15 years for her to get a role worthy of her talents...and it was on television.

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    2. But television isn't inferior to film, so I'm happy for her. I guess I'm too cynical to hope that Hollywood will find roles for these women. The characters they get to play on TV are much better anyway.

      I remember someone on a forum bringing up the point that this year's Emmy Lead Actress nominees for movie/limited series would win over the Best Actress Oscar nominees and I have to agree!

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    3. Oh, I understand that TV isn't inferior, but I'm speaking purely out of my cinematic heart here. I don't watch a lot of TV...like at all. I don't have HBO and Showtime and whatever...so all these great shows that people adore I don't see, unless I decide to binge watch something off Netflix, and with that kind of commitment, I need my wife on board...and she's not really on board. Like, we binge watched Downton Abby...but I'd never get her to binge watch Game of Thrones...like, not at all.

      SO, speaking from the heart of mine that loves all things cinema (and can find the time to watch a movie by my lonesome), I wish that I could see these girls in more movies.

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  7. I can get on board with most of these (maybe not Rodriguez, and I think Lopez already gets too much) but I LOVE the Queen and want to see her everywhere, and agree about Diaz. She's lovely.

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    1. I would LOVE for Queen Latifah to have the career she deserves. I really hope that Diaz becomes something in the years to come.

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  8. Oh People are dissing Lopez big time but I agree with you because i have seen her in some films and thought she was good. The problem is that she keeps doing "look at my body at 45" and giving us fish mouth that she is becoming dull. You are so right with many of these actresses and one that i would add is Michelle Yeoh. It was not Halle Berry who was the first Bond girl to show some kick ass but this intelligent woman. I loved Shohreh in that film and I have forgtten about her-what a crime. I will say something that i will be slammed by but i think it is another reason that some of these actresses do not get the recognition they deserve....their names. My name is Birgit (think of pronouncing like Beer-get) but I have been asked why my mother named me this to "do you like your name" and then called everything but my name (beernut, butgut, bruschetta, bagel are a few). The executroids have no clue how to say their names which I know are beautiful, so they figure how will general Q public know. They have a point. A sad point and a point on top of their heads but one that is true. Does this mean they should change their names like in olden days...Hell no! I am proud of my name but when people do not know how to say the name plus add all the other prejudices, they have an uphill battle. I think it's sad.

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    1. You have a very VERY true point, and it's one that I think may hurt some of these actresses (I mentioned it, sort of, when talking about Nyong'o). Very ethnic names are beautiful, but when the Hollywood buffs can't pronounce it they pass, and while it's a shame, it occurs.

      Your name is beautiful, by the way. I actually knew someone else with your name, and she was a very charming and wonderful woman. She owned a winery by my house and my wife and I and friends would visit there regularly. We enjoyed drinking and conversing with her and her husband until she passed away last year. We actually went to a dinner in her honor a few months ago.

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  9. Great list, Andrew. You defend their status very well. Zhang in particular is a real tough to one to understand because she should be a massive star in the West but faded right away. Watching Melonie Diaz in The Cobbler was just so sad as I remember her being thought of as next big "it" girl. I am not a fan of Jennifer Lopez's acting skills. It's always seems off to me, but she's a huge star and I think chosen the path she is on being nothing but trying to be sexy in everything. I have no respect for that. Your assessment of Kilcher's story is spot as well. Nicely done. Great job and a truly interesting read.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, Zhang's story is a real shame, but I have a feeling all the controversy in Japan over her portrayal of a geisha could have caused some serious backlash in her homeland.

      Diaz better be a star soon.

      And, Kilcher's case is a shame as well, but I really feel like Hollywood needs to grow up.

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  10. Thanks for doing this. Like I mentioned in my follow-up post and in conversation with you, it really could be a never-ending list. I'll share my thoughts on a few of the names mentioned.

    I absolutely love and respect Queen Latifah's entire life. I fully agree with you on her charisma. She has a magnetic and majestic presence fitting of her stage name. I purposely didn't pick her even though I would love to see her in bigger, better movies. I mean, what she did in Set it Off still blows me away. Glad you mentioned it. I didn't pick her because of all that she does and with such great purpose, not least of which is when there seems to be no path for her to take she makes one. I feel that having her just as a huge movie star would diminish all that it has come to mean to be Queen Latifah in the eyes of women everywhere, but to young women of color in particular.

    I also shied away from the TV stars you listed because it is a huge deal to be the protagonist of a smash hit major network series not marketed as a "black" show. I agree, film is better, but I'm okay if they achieve their iconic status on the small screen, instead. They are all fantastic at whatever they appear in, though. As for Viola Davis, she does have a major part in the upcoming Suicide Squad and her transition from film to TV star was fairly immediate. She didn't have the lull that Washington and Henson had so there's hope she'll still have a big-time movie career.

    Great, great call on Kikuchi. She's magnificent. Really, everyone in that section is wonderful. I'll have to admit I have no clue who Aghdashloo is. She's been in a few things I've seen, but nothing where she's had a major part, including 24.

    Even better call on Okenedo. I totally forgot about her. Thanks for that.

    I considered Rodriguez and Zhiyi, but I have to honest. I'm guilty of typecasting them both in my own mind. I've seen them so much as the type of characters they almost often play, I forget how capable they are as actresses. Therefore, I considered both, but ultimately left them off. My own apologies to both, if they should happen to read this.

    Oduye, Epps, and Nyong'o suffer from something you eloquently pointed out. They look "ethnic." It's truly sad that this is still an issue in 2015. It's even sadder for Epps, at least to me, because I haven't seen her anywhere that I can recall since Half Nelson.

    Love the Tatyana Ali shout.

    And I don't get the J-Lo hate, either. I love her as a performer and I'm in love with her AND I wouldn't dare ask her to put more clothes on. Why keep a Ferrari hidden in the garage?

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    1. Thanks Wendell! I was glad to be able to come up with something. Like you said, the list is really endless, which is an absolute shame.

      Latifah stands for so much, as you pointed out, and I would never want to take that away from her, but her talent deserves more...much more, and that's all I'd like for her.

      I completely get why you shied away from the TV stars. I remember all the think pieces on Washington being in a HUGE TV show and what it meant for black actresses, and I'm all for that...but her talent (also) deserves more.

      You need to watch House of Sand and Fog, ASAP.

      Rodriguez and Zhang are easy to typecast, which is just awful, but understandable. Yet, if you go back you'd see their potential. I mean, Rodriguez's debut performance in Girlfight showed so much depth and potential and then...she made a career out of punching people (how appropriate). Zhang's performance in 2046 is one of the greatest Supporting turns EVER!

      UGH, the ethnic thing pisses me off. Like, where do Nyong'o and Epps and Oduye live? AMERICA! That means they can be spotted at Starbucks and shopping at the mall and going to the movies and out to eat and so THEY ARE BELIEVABLE AS NORMAL PEOPLE!!! Like, why can't Nyong'o just play some guys wife? Why can't she get a normal role?

      And I'm right there with you on J-Lo.

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  11. J-Lo.... no, fuck that puta bitch. She's an egotistical and oversaturated skank who gets by her ass and what has she done lately that should make us give a shit about her? This is someone who is more concerned with getting attention for her ass and shit music yet hasn't made a watchable movie since.... when was the last time she actually made a film that was watchable or decent that isn't The Cell or Out of Sight? Plus, I recall an interview about how she should've been nominated for an Oscar for El Cantante as she thought she should've gotten some attention for her performance. She was awful in that film. Need I also remind people that she did a movie 8 years ago by the man who gave her the breakthrough she needed in Gregory Nava called Bordertown that never went to theaters and got booed at the Berlin Film Festival for how awful it was. Not to mention that there were rumors that she caused problems in a production that was supposed to be a small film and she ended up raising the budget which it never recovered from. Plus, there was a rumor that she locked Nava out of the editing room and he hasn't made a film since then.

    As for everyone else... they do deserve better.

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    1. Well, I love J-Lo forever and always so, whatev, but I remember that story about her being at the hospital after giving birth and watching the nominees announcement and being bummed out she wasn't nominated...and I was like, "Gurl, don't you follow the race...you weren't nominated for anything" but it did make me laugh, so she still wins :-D

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    2. "no, fuck that puta bitch."

      Congrats dude. You're the epitome of class.

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    3. It also means "fuck". Like she deserved to be nominated for anything when she wasn't even good to begin with except in the 90s.

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    4. Truth be told, I haven't seen the film/performance she feels she's Oscar worthy for :-P

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  12. I really agree with most of these, but I disagree with you about Jennifer Lopez (she's just a pretty weak actress although she was okay in Out of Sight and Selena) and Keisha Castle-Hughes (her Oscar nominated work is good but she is terrible in Game of Thrones). Also I don't care for Lupita Nyong'o and I thought that, while good, her performance in 12AS was overshadowed by Ejiofor's, Fassbender's and Paulson's more nuanced turns. I quite like Kerry Washington (she was good in Django and also really quite sweet in the first Fantastic 4) but she's kind of limited, some of her most emotional moments on Scandal are quite shaky.

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    1. I don't watch Scandal, so I'm not up to snuff with Washington's performance there, but in film she hasn't failed me yet.

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  13. Excellent work! So many careers that should be better. I forgot about Epps. Like, she was BRILLIANT! Ugh, I still need to see Middle of Nowhere!!

    And, again, see Mother of George. ;)

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    1. I know! I got your Tweet and I was like...MUST SEE MOTHER OF GEORGE...and then I forgot.

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  14. Love this list. I agree, I want the Henson of Hustle and Flow. And I want the emotionally raw Kerry Washington of She Hate Me. Though, I've never seen Empire or Scandal. Castle-Hughes, Kikuchi, Diaz... love them.

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    1. Yeah, these women have so much to offer...it would be nice for Hollywood to get over themselves and give them what they deserve.

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  15. I LOVE this list when I first saw it at Dell's blog. Glad you chose to continue it Drew! I agree with all of these, as I think actresses of color generally are so underrated and underutilized. I esp LOVE Viola, Rinko, Taraji and Q'rianka mentions, oh and I actually like J-Lo despite some godawful romcoms she's in. But she's so gorgeous and charismatic. I would add Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett who I think still look amazing for their respective ages, and they both kick ass!!

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    1. I almost listed Yeoh, myself...and I avoided Bassett because she was on Dell's list. I'm glad you're a J-Lo fan. Her films have been pretty awful, but she always fills them in a way that endears me to her.

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    2. Btw, I'm SO gonna see Lila & Eve w/ J-Lo AND Viola Davis!! I think Jennifer can be good in films like that, she's actually more versatile than ppl give her credit for. I know she's an easy target for a lot of ppl as she can seem diva-ish but yeah, I'm a fan. I mean she's unbelievably beautiful too, and she has such a kick-ass physique!

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    3. I'm right there with you!

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  16. All great choices, especially Latifah. Didn't her talk show flop? Shame.

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    1. It really is a shame. She deserves better than that.

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  17. SO MUCH YES TO THIS POST! Kikuchi!? What the hell happened to her??? I was actually shocked to see her on your list, because I had absolutely forgotten about her existence...and she's SO GOOD.

    Epps in Half Nelson is an absolute travesty. I didn't even realize that was Hudson's most undeserving year of glory. Epps had one of the rawest performances I've seen by a youngster, and (as you mentioned) she got completely ignored.

    Melonie Diaz...another one...such a genuine performance in Fruitvale Station. Sigh...

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    1. Thanks, Courtney!

      I feel like Epps' career path is such a tragedy, considering how incredible her debut was.

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    1. I remember really liking her in The Visitor...but unfortunately that is all I know her from. I haven't seen Mother of George, and I don't watch The Walking Dead.

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