Everyone that has eyes and a brain knows that the Emny Awards and shows like it have lacked diversity. Since it’s creation 67 years ago, the Emmy Awards has failed to nominate and award several deserving black actors and actresses. The whitewashing of Hollywoodis something that we have all become so familiar with that it’s normal. When watching the Golden Globes, Emmys, and Oscars, etc. I always find it very interesting how few and far between some of my favorite actors and actresses of color are nominated in leading or supporting roles. Very little dust is usually ever kicked up over these snubs, and when the brave few do air their grievances, they get scrutinized, or worse, black balled. This scrutiny is just surprising because EVERYONE knows that award shows like the Emmy’s are very exclusive and also to say the least, prejudice.
For years I watched while a lot of my favorite shows like A Different World, New York Undercover, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Martin, The Bernie Mac Show, Girlfriends, The Game (before BET), and Everybody Hates Chris were either just given nominations or not even mentioned. Some of the greatest actors of my generation are still out here working with no Emmy, Oscar, Globe, etc and it’s simply frustrating trying to figure out why not.
So what has changed this year? What made 2015 the year of magic for black thespians? What made this year’s shows different from all the other shows that so many of usactually got nominated more than any other year in the history of Emmy Awards?
While I am happy to see diversity and a lot of well deserving actresses and actors getting their due, I still have questions. Are the times changing and our shows and actors/actresses actually getting the nominations (and hopefully awards) that they deserve? Or are these guilt awards to shut us up? Will this year’s Black Emmys be a one night only kind of thing and then it’s back to only BET and NAACP recognizing us because no one else will?
I would guess that the climate of racial tensions in the U.S. and the demand for diversity are most likely the catalysts. From black churches being burned down to gay marriage legalization, the U.S. has had to take a long hard look in the mirror of what it really is and has been for so many. Maybe the Emmys (and hopefully the Oscars, Grammys, and Globes) started with the man in the mirror and did not like what it saw. Maybe they finally had the real discussion of why the awards and nominations don’t reflect the industry which it represents. Maybe.
Please know that my skepticism in no way says that I don’t think each and every person nominated doesn’t deserve the award. I just believe that there were others who deserved it previous years too and I’m feeling like I’m over institutions throwing us things to pacify or shut us up. It reminds me the year that Hustle and Flow got nominated for an Academy and won. It was surreal. To see Three 6 Mafia performing “Hard Out Here For A Pimp” in front of all those old ass stuffy melanin deficient folks was nothing short of amazing. I would have LOVED to be a fly on the wall of those people once they got home. I think the song only won because they were trying to be diverse. Not because they really believed the song should have won. Three 6 didn’t care though. And neither would I have. They still performed the song about pimpin and hoes at the Academy Awards …and it was glorious.
That was 9 years ago. Fast forward to 2015 and here we are with over 20 opportunities for a black person to win or be included in the cast of a winning television show. I hope we see this repeat performance year after year.
And more importantly, I hope every single one of them win.
Who are your favorites? Who do you want to win? And who are you disappointed to not see nominated?