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SAG Awards: Both lead actress titles won by black women

BIG WINS: (From left) Actresses Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba accepting their Screen Actors Guild Awards

HISTORY WAS made last night as both television lead actress titles at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were won by black women.

The SAG Awards, in which the winners are voted by fellow actors, was hosted at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Centre on Sunday (Jan 25).

Viola Davis, 49, won the outstanding lead drama actress prize for her role in crime drama How to Get Away With Murder.

Davis is the third actress of colour to claim the title, with Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy winning the award in 2005, followed by Chandra Wilson in 2006, who won for the same show.

All three victories were for series produced by black screenwriter Shonda Rhimes.

The award for outstanding comedy actress also went a black performer. Newcomer Uzo Aduba won her first SAG award for her role as Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren in Orange Is the New Black, marking the first year both winning lead actresses were black.

Aduba's Orange Is the New Black co-star, transgender actress Laverne Cox, also picked up an award last night.

Addressing television diversity, while talking to Variety magazine on the SAG Awards red carpet Davis said: “It starts with the casting. It starts with the narratives. The narratives have got to be inclusive."

“We’re in the 21st century now. People are multicultural now. We know more now about the world and what the world looks like, and it’s got to be reflected in the scripts.”

While accepting her award, the actress thanked the How to Get Away With Murder producers for thinking of a "mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned, African-American woman who looks like me."

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