Between 1984 and 1987, Diahann Carroll played the exotic saloon chanteuse on 'Dynasty'. This cabaret singer would to embark upon a controversial interracial romance on the show. Diahann's character broke new TV ground because Dominique Devereaux was "the first black bitch on a prime time soap." Diahann had told Esther Shapiro, the show's creator, she believed Dominique who was "certainly interested in power" should not be "a peripheral character, but a pivotal one." 

Diahann "did a little homework, and I learned that the show is very successful in Europe, I think that the world is just too small now for us to continue to think only of the United States and our problems with ourselves racially." From the outset, Diahann told Carolyn McGuire of the Chicago Tribune, "I felt a Third World woman, a woman who doesn’t care if she's liked and one who causes all kinds of powerful, mean, nasty havoc and isn't in a subservient position – not to a man or in a married situation or in a parental situation and certainly not in a business situation – would definitely be a first. 

"I remember the time when producers would be afraid to allow a member of the Third World to be depicted in that manner. They felt that it was a reflection upon themselves as the producers and that they would be attacked by certain organizations (or sponsors) for daring to have this character depicted as a less than likable, respected, upstanding citizen of the community. It's really time for us to broaden that scope of Third World people so we don’t go from one extreme, which is the hooker, to the other, which is the mama who encompasses everyone's needs because she's so wonderful." 

Making the point, "Take 6 shows about women, the one that involves the black woman receives much more attention. I think Dominique's kind of bitchiness is very subtle, and you will learn that her coolness is part of her bitchiness...I think she's always calculating. She wants you to think she's not on top of the situation when she is...Certainly this woman is clear and direct about what she wants, and has no problems making her needs and desires clear to everyone – including males. I know that the character of Dominique is determined, and I think in her background, as it unfolds, we discover a woman who has certainly gone from nothing (like 'Claudine' 1974) to sophistication. But I don't know if the character of Dominique has, so far, become cruel. She is forceful; she might be considered a little pushy." 

Diahann had insisted, "I think it is important that we allow actors who represent the Third World to portray roles that are not necessarily sympathetic. And the other end of the spectrum that we are offered very often is we are so sympathetic, so wonderful, so good and so marvelous that we are totally unbelievable. It was only a matter of time until someone overcame their timidity and introduced a black character who was just as unscrupulous and nasty as her white counterparts. Why shouldn't it be me?" 

Speaking to the Australian reporter John Lyttle in London in 1987, Diahann was matter-of-fact, "Do I like Dominique? Yes I do. It's a fun part. I play a character who doesn’t live by conventional mores; she's capable and a little bit extreme. And I love the clothes. I'm attracted to Dominique because she’s strong and a challenge...I think she's also a bit in love with her half-brother Blake (played by John Forsythe). I think that's why she remains in Denver. And I like to build characters and find facets. I'm fascinated by the variety of unleashed emotions."

However Diahann had noted early on, "They don't teach you in drama class how to do a scene 45 times in the same day. But eventually you find a way that works for you and you incorporate it into your style of work. It's a very important part of the business – being able to maintain an attitude, a freshness, a gung-ho presentation of the material – even though it may seem that if you have to say it once again, you'll scream!" 

Dominque was popular because "I think there are lots of sections of society who identify with someone standing up and carving out a life of their own on their own terms. I mean, life is not to be planned. Life is to be lived." However Diahann emphasized, "I don't see the characters I've played as a strictly black evolution. It was part of an American evolution. Because I'm an American. There are Asian Americans, black Americans; 'Julia' (1968-1971), for instance, was part of the general direction TV was heading in. It was part of the fabric of its day. Would I expect a sitcom like 'That Girl' (1966-1971) to provide conclusive evidence as to the state of late '60s white feminist sensibility? Next question please."

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