Black women have been leaving an undeniable mark on the film and television industry over the last year, and now that hard work appears to be paying off. On July 12, the Emmys announced their nominations for September’s award ceremony, and several Black actresses currently dominate several Primetime categories.
Look no further than Quinta Brunson, the writer and creator of ABC’s hilariously funny series Abbott Elementary. The 32-year-old actress and show producer is up for three Emmy nominations this year for Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy and Writing for a Comedy Series. The Philadelphia native has now become the first Black woman to be nominated with not one, not two, but three awards!
If you’re just tuning in, Brunson’s witty mockumentary-style series follows a group of passionate teachers who are determined to see their students thrive at Abbott Elementary, an underfunded public school in the city. The former YouTube star shines as the happy-go-lucky Janine Teagues, an optimistic second-grade teacher who is on a mission to enrich the lives of her students. Brunson’s funny workplace comedy has had fans peeled to their seats since the pilot series aired in September, and, to no surprise, the show will be back for a second season on ABC sometime next year.
Quinta Brunson reacts to her Emmy noms
Following the big announcement, Brunson took to Twitter to share the huge news with fans and she appeared to be at a loss for words.
Brunson rose to fame by making hilarious skits on social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube. But the comedienne struck gold when she debuted her self-produced Instagram series Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date in 2014. The star went on to produce and act in content for BuzzFeed Video and developed two streaming series with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.
Quinta Brunson isn’t the only Black actress making serious moves at the Emmys. Here are a few more talented celebs who are up for big awards this year.
Zendaya sent viewers down an emotional roller coaster on Season Two of Euphoria this year. The undeniable actress has been showing off her power and depth onscreen as the drug-addicted teen “Rue” in the hit HBO series, which she also executive produces.
This year, the former Disney star is making history again as the youngest producer ever nominated for a drama series. The Dune star has also received another nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, making her the youngest two-time lead acting nominee.
In 2020, Zendaya made Emmy history by becoming the youngest lead actress drama winner at just 23 years old. The iconic achievement made her the second Black woman to win in the esteemed category, following Viola Davis for “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Additionally, the Oakland native has received two nominations for two songs featured on the show; “Elliot’s Song” which played on the episode “All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name” and “I’m Tired” from the episode “You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can.”
2. Issa RaeSource:Merie W. Wallace/HBO
Issa Rae made us double over with laughter and cry our eyes out for five seasons on Insecure. The show may be over, but its impact we’ll certainly live on forever. Rae, who created and starred in the HBO Dramedy, has snagged a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
This is her second time being nominated in the category. She received her first nod for lead actress in 2018.
3. Sanaa LathanSource:Getty
Sanaa Lathan has received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in A Drama for her riveting performance in HBO’s hit dark comedy Succession.
4. Robin ThedeSource:Getty
Robin Thede’s gut-busting comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Comedy Show” is up for five awards this year, including one for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and another for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. The hilarious HBO show has also received a nod for Outstanding Editing for a Variety Series, Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Production Design.
Thede, who also stars in the funny sketch comedy series, garnered praise in 2019 when she launched the first season of A Black Lady Sketch Comedy Show. According to reports, the buzzing program is the first sketch show to feature an all-Black female cast of comediennes, and it’s also the first to include an all-black female writer’s room.
5. Sheryl Lee RalphSource:Getty
Tony winner Sheryl Lee Ralph is nominated under the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role as the smart and sassy Barbra Howard on Abbott Elementary.
6. Janelle JamesSource:Getty
Janelle James has also been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress and will be facing off her Abbott Elementary co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph for the Emmy award come September. James plays Abbott’s hilarious principal Ava Coleman in the series.
7. LizzoSource:Courtesy of Yitty
Back in March, Lizzo premiered her dance competition series Watch Out for the Big Grrrls on Amazon Prime. Now, the singer’s hit show is up for an Emmy. Lizzo received a nod in the Outstanding Competition Program series.
Watch Out for the Big Grrrls puts 10 lucky contestants through a series of dance challenges to see who has what it takes to join the Grammy-winning artist on tour as a background dancer. Big, bold, and confident are the only requirements needed to join the elite ranks of the “Big Grrrls,” which falls right in line with the star’s body-positive ethos.
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