Big Emmy Wins in Diversity

With Emmy wins for Best Comedy Writer, Director, and Drama Actor going to Lena Waithe, Donald Glover, and Sterling K. Brown respectively, what could have been a predictable night was punctuated with some dramatic firsts that left us hopeful for more inclusivity in the future.

Lena Waithe’s heartfelt speech about telling her truth as a gay woman on MASTERS OF NONE highlighted an already monumental achievement as the first black woman to take the Best Comedy Writer award.  Glover, too, made history as the first black director to take what has been a white male dominated category. And while Sterling K. Brown’s emotional moment was undercut by an unforgiving music cue, he was able to hit on the fact that Andre Braugher was the last black actor to receive the same award almost 20 years ago. And that they both went to Stanford. Well done on both counts.

Riz Ahmed’s win for Best Actor in a Limited Series and Aziz Ansari, Waithe’s co-winner, standing next to Waithe as she accepted her award were other testaments to the browning of an industry that has only intermittently acknowledged the excellence of minorities in front of and behind the camera.  In an interview with the LA Times Ahmed pointed to the fact that awareness is key to making future progress.

With so many worthy diverse nominees this year and the years to come, let’s hope this trend continues.

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