For decades, families have sat around together to witness some of their favorite stars strike gold. But unfortunately, the Emmys haven’t always been so… well… Black. In fact, the Academy has been historically white, and for that reason, many Black women couldn’t really see themselves portrayed, let alone winning an Emmy. But 2020 had something up its sleeve—we saw wins happening for some of our nearest and dearest on TV.
This year, 34.3% of all actor category nominees were Black. This was an increase from the 27.7% previous record of Black nominees in 2018. Director and writer categories are unfortunately still being dominated by white men, but we did see nods to a few Black creatives—Dime Davis for HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show, Linda Mendoza for Netflix's Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready, and Nadia Hallgren for Netflix's Becoming. With diverse perspectives finally getting a seat at the table in TV and cinema, we’re watching closely to see if it will stick.
Important shows we love like Black-ish and Insecure continue to give us storylines we can see ourselves in. From growing up not knowing if you’re Black enough or being the only Black person in a room of decision makers, it’s exciting to see our stories told and to see predominantly Black casts winning in a slew of categories. Is this the beginning of a Black renaissance? SNL star Leslie Jones hosted, and Black trans activist Laverne Cox helped announce the nominees—from home, in all their comfy glory.
One of our favorite wins of the night was for Watchmen. This show is actually based on a comic book series, previously portrayed by white actors. Regina King is the front-runner of the TV series, where she won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her acclaimed performance as Angela Abar. Try to count on one hand how many times that’s happened. You can’t.
Black talent is all around us. They're just finally being seen. We here at MBIB know it takes more than a one-off win to make a change. We’re rooting for Black credibility as the norm, and a diverse Academy that we can see ourselves in, not just now, but every single time.
Check out the full list of Black nominees for the 2020 Emmys here.
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