The Emmys Make History

By Kashyah Williams

It’s that time of the year again—award show season has officially kicked off. On the evening of September 17, 2017, the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards aired on CBS live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The Emmy’s are the highest television awards given and are chosen by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The glitz, the glam, and the fashion are just a part of the big night. Plenty of nominations flooded the night and some lucky winners had the honor of taking home the gold statue of the winged woman holding an atom.

Stephen Colbert hosted the event, accompanied by many notable presenters, such as actresses Cicely Tyson and Carol Burnett. The show took on a political tone with many actors expressing their views about President Trump and mocking him.

Some of the winners included favorites like Sterling K. Brown for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role in This Is Us, and Ann Dowd for Best Actress in a Drama for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale. More winners include Donald Glover, for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Atlanta, and Melissa McCarthy, for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Saturday Night Live.

Emmy history was made with several wins, including Donald Glover being the first black person to win an Emmy for directing a Comedy Series for his work on FX’s Atlanta. The show follows two cousins with different views on art versus commerce on their way up through the Atlanta rap scene.

Lena Waithe kisses Donald Glover on the cheek behind their Emmy statues after their joyous wins of the night. Glover took home 2 Emmys for Best Director and Actor in a Comedy Series and Waithe took home an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. (Picture Courtesy of NBC Bay Area)

The second is Lena Waithe for becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for writing the Netflix comedy Master of None. The Netflix Comedy follows the professional and personal life of 30-year-old actor Dev.

The third is Riz Ahmed for becoming the first man of South Asian descent and second Asian entertainment ever to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role in The Night Of. HBO’s The Night Of premise is, after a night of partying with a female stranger, a man wakes up to find her stabbed to death and is charged with murder.

Sterling Brown, This Is Us star, became the first black actor to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series since 1995. The show features a unique ensemble who cross paths in many ways, their lives intertwining, from sharing the same birthday to much more unexpected events.

These wins were groundbreaking, considering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stirred controversy with the coined hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite.” The Academy received much backlash and criticism after failing to nominate anyone of color for two consecutive years, 2015 and 2016. The criticism caused many actors and actresses to express and voice their concern via social media platforms and boycott the ceremonies due to lack of misrepresentation and acknowledgment.

This year’s Emmy’s ceremony, although having to do with strictly television, shined a light on the past faults of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and overall was a victory for Hollywood and more so the television talents. The pool of nominations for the Emmys included a diverse group of talents based on the winners of television’s biggest night.

View the complete list of the Emmy winners here.

If you’re interested in award shows, tune in live from the Dolby Theater to Hollywood’s biggest night for the Academy Awards on March 4, 2018 at 8/7C only on ABC.

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