Arts & Culture

Emmys growing recognition for diversity


The 69th annual Emmy Awards was host to a number of historic wins, mostly in the realm of diversity. Donald Glover became the first black director to win an Emmy in comedy for his series “Atlanta,” which was nominated for outstanding comedy series. Glover is also the first director in 40 years to win for a show he acted in.

Riz Ahmed became the first South Asian man to win an acting Emmy for his role in “The Night Of.” Ahmed was, however, quick to point out to a Variety reporter that a single award does little to change the entertainment industry’s systemic problem with inclusion.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for the 6th time for her role in “Veep,” making history and breaking the record for the most consecutive awards won for the same role. This win also ties Louis-Dreyfus with Cloris Leachman for the most Emmy wins by a single performer at eight awards.

Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari won a comedy writing Emmy for their work on “Master of None,” making Waithe the first black woman to ever win an Emmy in this category. Waithe was also the first black woman to even be nominated in the category, and it is worth noting that she is a queer black woman who won big in a field with a problem recognizing women, people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community — much less someone with all three identities. Representation of queer women among winners was high: Kate McKinnon also won an Emmy for her performance on “SNL.”

Melissa McCarthy also won for her performance on “SNL” as Sean Spicer. Spicer himself made a brief appearance at the end of host Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue, parodying the egregious lie he peddled about the size of President Trump’s inauguration crowd.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” also made history by winning the Emmy for best drama, marking the first time a series created by a streaming service won in this category.

Between the lead and featured actor categories, there were 18 people of color nominated — 18 more than the all-white Oscar nominees and seven more than last year’s Emmy Awards — and if the outstanding drama and outstanding comedy series nominations are combined, ten of the 14 series featured LGBTQIA+ characters. Despite the onscreen representation of minorities and women, most of the behindthe-camera nomination categories were dominated by white men. Combining the writing, directing, producing and editing categories reveals that 74% of the nominees were men.

Overall, the 69th annual Emmy Awards were historic for the inclusivity of its winners.

This article first appeared in the Friday, September 29, 2017, Edition of The Echo.