The Emmys Just Made History In A Big Way

Last night's 72nd Emmy Awards show made history, and it wasn't just because COVID-19 risks forced the show to go virtual with no red carpet and an empty venue. A record number of Black actors won in major categories, with seven Black performers taking home statues, breaking the record of six from two years ago (via CNN). The historical wins came after a number of people from underrepresented groups received nominations, including 36 actors and hosts of color and 19 actors and hosts who identify as LGBTQ+ (via Deadline).


Out of the 18 acting awards featured at the Emmys, seven statues were won by Black actors, including Regina King, who won outstanding lead actress for her role in Watchmen, Zendaya, who took home the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama for Euphoria, and Uzo Aduba who took home the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress for Mrs. America (via Variety and Glamour).

This year's historic Emmy wins are a step in the right direction

There were plenty of deserving winners to celebrate this year. Ron Cephas Jones and his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones won for their roles in the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn, and made double history as the first father-daughter duo to win in the same year. RuPaul celebrated his fifth trophy for outstanding host for a reality or competition program, and Maya Rudolph took home two awards for her voiceover work in Big Mouth and her guest actress role on SNL. Overall, there was a significant increase in Black honorees this year, with 33% of the acting nominations going to Black actors, as opposed to just 14% over the previous five years (via CNN). And while that increase is impressive and should be acknowledged, there is still room to improve.


Overall, the night was more than just a celebration of the achievements of Black actors. The theme that seemed to prevail throughout the winners and nominees was a message of love and hope. Everything the country needs right now in the midst of political division, social unrest, and an uncontrolled global pandemic. The systemic subjection that has become so glaringly obvious over the past year isn't gone, but as Mark Ruffalo poignantly noted, "we're stronger together when we love each other and we respect each other's diversity" (via ET).