By now you’ve heard of John Legend’s historical Primetime Emmy Awards win for Jesus Christ Superstar on September 8. The A Good Night singer received what is one of the highest honors in entertainment, a coveted Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony a.k.a the EGOT. Anything higher is a PEGOT, which pretty much stands for Pulitzer – held by merely two individuals. Legend is the first black man (Whoopi’s been holding it down for the sistas since 2002) to obtain the honor. What makes the songwriter’s win quite special, is at the age of 39 he is the youngest recipient yet. This win is only the beginning to what is the Blackest Emmys yet.
First time nominees Tiffany Haddish and Katt Williams took home Guest Actor and Actress Awards in Comedy for their guest appearances on Saturday Night Live and Atlanta, respectively. The #BlackExcellence continued with Ron Cephus Jones of tear-jerker This Is Us taking home the “Guest Actor Award” in a Drama. Samira Wiley took Guest Actress for her portrayal of Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale. While those TV shows are scripted, we also swept reality TV, with RuPaul’s third consecutive win for TV Host of a Reality or Reality Competition Program for RuPaul’s Drag Race. The VH1-run contest between drag-queens is also up for Reality-Competition Program and Unstructured Reality Program. This has historical-potential. If the cast and crew take home the latter, it would be the first reality show ever to receive host and program honors in the same year. This calls for a “Yasss Queen!”
Atlanta’s left-of-center humor in it’s second season has earned an esteemed 16 nominations with Donald Glover in the running for Lead Actor, Writing, and Directing for his own series. He could also possibly pick up Guest Actor for S.N.L. His counter part, Paper Boi née Brian Tyree Henry, will grapple with Kenan Thompson (S.N.L.) and Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) for Supporting Actor Awards. Co-star Zazie Beetz received her own esteemed honor with a nomination for Supporting Actress.
Issa Rae’s nomination for Actress in a Comedy is monumental in it’s own right. The millennial-based HBO series Insecure highlights the modern black female. It’s a celebration of black girl magic without the tragic childhood, but rather ultra-relatable tragic dating history among other twenty-something woes, like horrible jobs and money problems. It’s a celebration of sisterhood and what it means to be young, Black, and female with all the hilarity and gripes that ensue in the half-hour program. I’m proud that our girl’s creativity, wit, and acting chops are taking the industry by storm with no signs of stopping.
There is representation in almost every category, in addition to one of two hosts being Black. We are taking television and whether we lose or not, this is a testament to our ingenuity and diverse skill set in intelligent, thought-provoking, and meaningful ways to audiences. Not that we need the industry’s approval, but while we have their attention we might as well show up and show out. That being said, this is the time to show your support and tune in P.S. Those Nielsen Ratings are watching.
The 70th “Blackest” Primetime Emmy Awards Yet airs Monday, Sept. 17 at 8pm EST.