It’s basically black people and Aziz Ansari in terms of people of color at the 2016 Emmys.
They say we’ve beyond the term “Golden Age of Television,” but rather an enhanced term called Peak TV. There is just SO MUCH good TV to take in that it’s overwhelming. While this may be the case, there is still much farther to go for people of color to feel like Peak TV includes us too. I WISH I were overwhelmed with how many people of color are on my TV. Blacks, Latinx, Asians, South Asians, NATIVES — I wish I had to use more than one hand to count stars in each group of people. There are enough networks. But I digress.
One important marker of how far we are coming in reaching equity is awards season. As we’ve seen over and over with April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign, however, awards are just the end result of the diversity challenge. We hardly see diverse actors, actresses, writers, and directors (and all other creative positions) at award shows because they’re not present in the writing and pre-production. And when it does feel like we have a lot of diverse representation, it’s usually an illusion, with the same two or three people’s faces coming up (it’s still mostly Shonda Rhimes filling the “diversity” quota on the Big Five).
2014-15 was a great year for diverse TV (blackish, Jane the Virgin, How to Get Away with Murder, Fresh off the Boat were some of the shows that premiered), but most of 2015-16’s diversity successes — aka shows that didn’t get cancelled or got lots of press — were in their second season. Aside from breakout hit Quantico (which received no Emmy noms), Rosewood, Dr. Ken, and the Carmichael Show weren’t always in the mainstream conversation, Empire technically premiered in the 14-15 year, and Master of None starring Aziz Ansari became a sort of cult Netflix show. (Aziz Ansari’s Lead Actor Emmy nom this year makes him the first South Asian EVER to be nominated in a starring role.) A lot of the biggest diversity buzz has been around shows that aren’t out yet: three of the biggest, Netflix’s Luke Cage, Issa Rae’s Insecure, and Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar,.
Today were the Emmy announcements, and based on the nominees, we definitely still have a lot of work to do. There’s quite a bit of melanin (read: black people) represented in the below categories (there totally could’ve been more), but few else from any other race/ethnicity. And while this is a site that represents Black voices, we can and should never be satisfied. Not until there is truw equity, equality, and inclusion.
Here’s the Emmy’s nominations recap. Let’s look at some of the categories and see who from our black girl nerd interests have been nominated:
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Both Taraji P Henson and Viola Davis were once again nominated for Empire and HTGAWM. And once again (from the 2015 Golden Globes) Tatiana Maslany can’t even fit the number of characters she plays on Orphan Black (to perfection) on her credits list. I sincerely hope Tatiana wins because next season is Orphan Black‘s last season on air. She only has so many chances and she’s brilliant. These three against each other splits my black girl nerd heart in pieces.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
This category was almost crickets but not for the BGN Bae Rami Malek getting a nom for Mr. Robot. Elliot came in clutch!!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
It’s crickets for people of color in this category, but I still care because of the THREE Game of Thrones nominations for Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Maisie Williams. I personally would prefer Maisie, though I am a bit sad that Sophie Turner didn’t get any recognition. She played her role excellently this last season.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Crickets again for people of color… but it’s a battle of the bastards (in their fathers’ eyes) between Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage. I haven’t heard too much about their category mates, so I think Kit probably has the best chance, due to it being such a big Jon Snow season (I guess this nomination gives spoilers, hm? Or is this from last season?) but Dinklage arrests my attention every time he is on screen, so. It’s a toss up for me.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
TRACEEEEEE!!! Congrats to black-ish‘s Tracee Ellis Ross for a well-deserved nom in the comedy category.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy
Anthony Anderson was nominated for black-ish. Well deserved! As I mentioned earlier, Aziz Ansari is the fist ever South Asian to be nominated in a lead role (even ahead of Mindy Kaling) for Master of None. Too bad the campaign to get his non-actor dad nominated fell through — though the Ansari’s episode “Parents” was nominated for writing.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Come through Niecy Nash! Holding it down for Getting On.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Well, we never seem to lack for supporting Actor noms. This year we have three: Andre Braugher (who is fantastic on Brooklyn 99), Keegan-Michael Key for Key & Peele, and Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot are holding it down for the nerds. But the category is strong with some love for The Americans, House of Cards, and Homeland. Somehow Downton Abbey keeps getting noms. It’s the British version of Modern Family.
Outstanding Comedy Series
black-ish and Master of None are holding it down for people of color. Transparent won the Golden Globe, and while it’s, of course, commendable, we know 1. the issues of a cis person playing a trans person and 2. from an outsider’s perspective, it doesn’t seem much like a comedy. Hence why I fight for dramedy categories. It would help shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent, which toe the line between the two extremes more than most other shows.
Outstanding Writing in a Drama
Game of Throne‘s Battle of the Bastards got a nod, as well as the Mr. Robot pilot.
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy
As mentioned above, Aziz and Alan Yang’s “Parents” episode got a nod for Aziz’s dad. 😉 But most of the other noms are Veep and Silicon Valley, each with TWO. I guess no other comedy was funnily written. Not even Modern Family.
Outstanding Directing in a Drama
Game of Thrones submitted “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Door” (hold back the tears y’all). I noted earlier that GoT also submitted “Battle” for Writing, but I feel it’s more suited to direction, that episode had great visual moments. I wish “Door” had been nominated for writing.
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy
Master of None got one nom, but Veep got 3!? Wow. No other show is funnily directed either I guess.
Mini Series Categories
- Idris Elba, Courtney B Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr held down Lead Actor (for Luther and People vs OJ Simpson)
- Kerry Washington got nominated for Confirmation, while Audra McDonald was nominated for Lady Day. If Audra wins, shes only an Oscar away from an EGOT. Well, an EGOTTTTTT.
- John Singleton was nominated for directing The People vs OJ‘s “The Race Card” while Anthony Hemingway was nomed for “Manna from Heaven”
- American Crime was nominated for Outstanding Limied Series
- Regina King was nom’d for Outstanding Supporting Actress for American Crime.
- Roots is nominated for Oustanding Limited Series.
GUYS. BEYONCE IS ABOUT TO BE AN EMMY WINNER. Lemonade was nominated in 4 categories, including Beyonce herself getting a directorial nom. The Beehive is lit right now.
I AM UPSET:
- Marsai Martin (who plays Diane on black-ish) has yet to receive any nominations. This is a travesty.
- Jenifer Lewis, also on black-ish, was also criminally snubbed. In the name of Black Baby Jesus we must fix this!
- Constance Wu also deserves ALL THE CREDIT for Fresh off the Boat. There are times when I think she saves that show all on her own (though I really do enjoy it in general).
- Jessica Jones wasn’t nominated for anything but best title credits. I hope the JJ twitter account has something snarky to say.
- I don’t watch Penny Dreadful, but I am upset on y’all’s behalves that Eva Green was nominated.
- I’m sad that Larry Wilmore didn’t get a nom for the Nightly Show (he’s the only Black writer to be nom’d OR win Best Writer on a comedy ever (for the Bernie Mac Show).
- I’m also kind of upset Seth Meyers wasn’t nominated. If you watch his “A Closer Look” segments, he talks about hard-hitting issues, including #BlackLivesMatter, in a really supportive and allied way. Especially when so much of his audience is white. It’s important.
- UNDERGROUND? WHERE. IS. UNDERGROUND!
So regardless of the nominations we received, it’s still not enough. Jamie got into a recent Twitter…. conversation with a user who asked when we would be satisfied (cue Hamilton joke here) with representation. Would it be when every single person behind more than one show was a black woman? The answer is obviously yes. Then we could have equity at awards shows. So while I am really excited for the nominees we do have, (there is one person of color in nearly every major acting category except Supporting Actor/Actress in a Drama) there is always, always more work to be done. Black people have the most noms, but we also ask where our fellow PoC are. (WHERE IS CONSTANCE WU?! And not just because she shares my name and loves bunnies.)
It’s Peak TV for some, but not for us. Let’s not rest until it is.
See you at the Emmy’s. On Twitter. When we live-tweet it together on September 18th. If I missed anything you wanna discuss, hit the comments, tweet @ConStar24 and/or use the hashtag #BGNTV.