Oprah's Next Chapter, African American Women in Hollywood

Last night's episode of Oprah's Next Chapter was insightful. The episode was entitled, African-American Women in Hollywood, and featured Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Phylicia Rashad, and Alfre Woodard.

The women spoke about their daily challenges dealing with skin color, body images, and how Hollywood images can cause an African-American actress to question herself and her self-esteem.Listen to their stories below.

Viola Davis Says Black Actresses Are in Crisis Mode

Viola Davis, an Oscar® winner best known for her roles in The Help and Doubt, says black actresses in Hollywood are in crisis mode. Watch as this Julliard graduate shares how the small quantity (and poor quality) of roles for African-American women breeds a hostile, competitive environment.

Gabrielle Union Discusses the Truth About Her Mean-Girl Past
Actress Gabrielle Union has starred in everything from Bring It On to Bad Boys II, but, she says, it isn't always easy to land roles—especially for African-American women. Watch as Gabrielle, a self-confessed former mean girl, opens up about the fierce competition for acting jobs. Plus, find out how she changed her attitude.

Phylicia Rashad on How The Cosby Show Represented Race in America
More than 20 years after The Cosby Show finale aired, actress Phylicia Rashad is still best known as TV's favorite mom, Clair Huxtable. For eight seasons, Phylicia defended the hit sitcom's portrayal of African-American life. Does she believe it was realistic to script a lawyer and a doctor living under one roof? Find out now.

Alfre Woodard on the Fierce Competition Among Black Actresses
Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard has been working in Hollywood for more than three decades. For years, she says, the mention of another African-American actress's name would spark negativity and, oftentimes, the b-word from her managers and agents. Watch as Alfre shares a revelation she had about the women she was competing against.
Although this was an in-depth exclusive revolving around the experiences of these four women, it appears that the competition in Hollywood can be so fierce and the criticism so sharp, that it is apparently hard for people of all colors.
When you think about the starlets and entertainers who turn to drugs, alcohol, and other self-destructive activities that end up ruining their careers and often their lives, it is a wonder how people stay sane in the public eye.