Everyone knows of the Emmy awards. Everyone knows these kinds of shows, where they have lovely trophies to honor those that work in show business from producers to directors to composers and to actors especially. The Emmy awards and the Oscars are two of the largest televised awards shows in the United States, both of them involve show business, but with a significant difference in how they are chosen. The Oscars are chosen through a group of judges from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, people who are able to give well-thought out opinions on films down to the very last detail. The Emmy awards, unlike the Oscars, are chosen from the votes of the people that are in the same business – performers voting on performers, directors on directors, and so on. Each Emmy is chosen by a group of the nominees peers.
With this in mind, it’s also rather notorious for these awards shows to have bias. The Oscars’ group of judges have been known to be terrible snobs, with a predominantly white group of people winning these awards. The Emmys are not too different, with many white actors and actresses receiving awards over their non-white peers. The year 2015 seemed to take a different stance, giving out multiple awards to many women of color. The most notable of which being Viola Davis making history as the first black woman to receive the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “How to Get Away with Murder.” Other notable awards were Regina King for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her work on “American Crime,” and Uzoamaka Aduba who won two Emmys under the categories of comedy and drama for her work on “Orange is the New Black.” She became the first woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and in its drama category counterpart for the same role.
And it should also be noted that many of the nominees for these awards included more black women than before. For Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, there was also Angela Basset and Mo’nique Imes-Jackson alongside actresses like Kathy Bates. In Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Viola Davis was also up along with Taraji Henson.
Viola Davis’s speech was rather historical in itself, starting off with a quote from Harriet Tubman, “In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.” The rest of her speech celebrated black women, saying that the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. She spoke out many names of famous black actresses such as Halle Berry, Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Nicole Behari, and Meagan Good and thank them for helping women of color to cross that line. It was a show of how important it is to be a black woman, how important it is to overcome boundaries that have been set in a society where pale skin is treasured above everything else, it was a show of sisterhood and support and it was awe-inspiring.
Another notable moment, while it was not worthy of an award, it was certainly heartwarming like one. It was Tracy Morgan making his appearance on television at the Primetime Emmy awards for the first time since his rather major car accident last year. The accident caused a lot of neurological damage, as well as putting him in a coma for 8 days, and when he awoke he found that he lost one of his closest friends in that accident as well. It was incredible to see him walking out onto the stage unassisted and speaking in full sentences with no trouble. It was a moment of victory for him, and for everyone watching that knew what a fragile state he was in before.
It was a truly spectacular night full of well-deserved awards to many actors and actresses who worked hard for their places in entertainment. Hollywood is notorious in its need to cover up color and replace with nice white people, but this year’s Emmy awards were a celebration of color. As more representation is placed on the screen of national television, it looks like there will be great recognition for people of color in the future, and hopefully next year’s Emmy will be studded with even more colorful stars.