CHANGING THE CHANNEL

Here’s proof that 2016 has been an unparalleled year for women of color on TV

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Compared to the movie landscape, television is a wonderland of representation—and now, along with offering more and more prominent TV roles for women of color, Hollywood is putting its money where its mouth is. Forbes released its annual list of the world’s highest-paid TV actresses today. Of the 15 women recognized this year, four were women of color.

Guess what? That’s the highest number ever. Forbes has published a version of this list every year since 2008, with the number of actresses featured varying from 10 to 20. Of 136 spots on nine years of lists, only 23 have gone to seven unique women of color (most of whom have made repeat appearances)—that’s a paltry 17%. Things are significantly looking up this year: Non-white actresses account for 27% of the top spots.

Mindy Kaling and Kerry Washington.Getty Images

Mindy Kaling and Kerry Washington.

Modern Family star Sofia Vergara topped the 2016 list for the fifth year straight, raking in $43 million. Mindy Kaling, creator and star of The Mindy Project, came in third with earnings of $15 million. Scandal star Kerry Washington and Quantico star Priyanka Chopra were close behind in sixth and eight place, respectively, with incomes of $13.5 and $11 million.

To put this into more perspective, only three other women of color have ever made the Forbes list: Tyra Banks (in 2008, 2009, and 2010), Eva Longoria (from 2008 to 2012), and Vanessa Williams (in 2008). The worst year to date for women of color was 2011, when Longoria was the only non-white performer to crack the top 10.

Here’s hoping that 2017 sees even more TV actresses of color getting paid. It’s about damn time.