The 2013 Emmy Awards Embodied TV’s White Problem
Last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards taught me two things: that I really need to start watching Homeland and that TV is just REALLY white. Well, no it only taught me one thing because I already knew of TV’s white problem. But at the 2013 Emmys, it jumped off the TV screen and slapped me in the face like never before.
I think it’s because I’m already in my feelings over the whole Saturday Night Live thing.
What Saturday Night Live thing? Well I’m glad you didn’t ask. I will tell you. They just hired six new castmembers and they’re 5 white guys and 1 white girl. That’s cool if their cast wasn’t already largely monochromatic, with the exception of Kenan Thompson. He’s there in case they need a skit with someone of color, regardless of gender. Because what the world needs now is more moderately funny Black dudes dressing in drag to play Black women as if we’ve become some endangered species. (-___-)
In SNL’s 38-year history, only 15 of their fulltime folks have been Black, and only 4 have been Black women. Lorne Michaels and his team are lazy as hell for this and it’s ridiculous. But really, they’re just another piece in a white ass puzzle we call Hollywood.
Back to the Emmys though. Neil Patrick Harris was adorable and a suitable host. However, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler should host EVERYTHING! The only time I laughed was when they were onstage or talking.
Again: LET AMY AND TINA HOST EVERYTHING. Thank you. Also, Jon Hamm CGI. All of it. Whenever wherever whatever. Amen.
Kerry Washington didn’t win “Best Actress in a Drama” for her role as Olivia Pope, though. And I REALLY wanted her to win because I’m a Gladiator and I love her and she’s my cousin (sharrap and lemme live). So that already made me mad. But I ain’t gon rain on Claire Danes’ parade because I heard Homeland was awesome and I’ve been meaning to catch it. BUT… I really wish Kerry woulda won. I wanted her to make history as the first Black actress to win “Best Lead in a Drama.” But yeah… YOU’RE STILL MY WINNER, ADEKERRY OLUWASHINGTON!!!
Besides that, IT WAS JUST A REALLY WHITE SHOW!!! LAWDT! It’s really just a bunch of white folks giving each other awards, with a sprinkling of Black folks and Mindy Kaling. Oh and there’s Sofia Vergara, who I wish would stop playing the Ghost of Quincenara Present. But get them checks, girl!
The lack of color at the Emmys is what I expected but it doesn’t mean it’s not irritating. Every year, we watch it happen and we wonder if the next year will be different. Maybe, maybe not.
It is 2013. The fact that we still have to play “Spot the person of color” at major award shows makes me hella sad. We still need to ask others if any black or brown people won awards and the answer is “nah. Maybe off screen.” THAT grinds my gears still.
Even Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks noticed it and captured it in this picture:
Well hello white people! pic.twitter.com/DtFJWNytDv
— Natalie Maines (@1NatalieMaines) September 23, 2013
SHEESH. She ain’t lying.
There’s always 2014. The Emmys will probably continue to look like a Convention of People Without Melanin. And it’s tired. It’s too white. It’s too bore. It won’t fit. It got a big budget. Just a big budget.
And before folks retort with “well why do Black people need validation from these people?” I need them to know that wanting to be included isn’t necessarily synonymous with needing validation. Asking that we aren’t ignored in a show that is supposed to acknowledge our contributions to entertainment is just asking for a seat at the table. A SEAT WE DESERVE. You CANNOT represent popular culture if you ignore Black folks and other people of color.
Ugh. Whatever. <—- things salty people say.
But YAYYYYY for Breaking Bad winning “Best Drama” though! They got ONE thing right. Hmph.
So did y’all watch the Emmy Awards? Whatchu think?
It’s a shame that the message will be lost on people who need to hear it most. Unfortunately, many will insist “I don’t see color” to which my reply is, “Well, you don’t have to.” Not seeing color should be about not making assumptions about who that person is behind the pigmentation. Acknowledging color is to understand that EVERYone across the spectrum has something of worth to contribute. In addition, it’s about acquiring representation not validation.
Now I understand what is meant when people say they don’t see color. Is it because the color is not there for them to see?
People who “don’t see color” are lying like hell. That whole “colorblind” to race thing is boolsheet. So yes, agreed!
“Adekerry Oluwashington” HOLLERED!!! #icant
…and shout out to your Big Ego remix. LOL #truthserved
I watched bits and pieces but you are most definitely correct! I was thinking it myself like, “Damn. Where are we?”
I never watch it. It’s boring and I know I won’t see anyone I recognize. I won’t not watch a show because there are no people of color, but it makes it hard to relate. It also makes me mad, because I’m sure most of the people in that room:
A) Have no problem with an all-white awards show
B) Don’t believe race is a “thing” these days
C) Think that people of color should just “work harder” to be recognized
I concur. #thatisall
We, as Black people, make a contribution to mainstream entertainment. That’s why we want to be seen at shows like the Emmys or Oscars where they acknowledge mainstream entertainment. I was so done with the Emmys by 8:30, I worked on getting to the next Candy Crush level. I still ain’t there.
People (even black folks) are like “Claire Danes’ character is just better in Homeland”. Look..I am just over terrorist shows where she plays a neurotic CIA agent who is having some sorta fling w/ an operative named Brody. (Or something dont get me to lying…I didnt give a damn after episode 4). I am over that narrative of white folks being “saviors” of terroist “others”. That is what folks are into now I guess…..not a smart and savvy black women who is deeply flawed and has character depth and a much more intriguing plot…
THIS. i watch Homeland. i like it and all, BUT SCANDAL is sooo much better. i’m telling people who are every season late that they need to get right with the LAWD and get caught up on Scandal. sheeeeeit, take a day off of work, if that is what it takes. no such thing am i doing, or even considering, for Homeland.
With the look at the nominees, I knew I wasn’t gonna watch until the last half hour, when Kerry’s category would be announced
and folks wonder why Black folks have their own awards
This right here.
I watch Homeland and it’s AIGHT (OK, actually the hubs watches and I just SMH at Claire Danes lack of acting skills). Frankly, Miss Claire is not believable in the role and I wonder how she got the job. How they pass over Kerry though? Miss Pope is EVERYTHANG!!! Anyhoo, I stopped watching these shows years ago because it is the same old thing every time. And AGREED on Tina and Amy hosting everything they are to funny!
I flipped back and forth to the show for a while but my heart was finished when Don Cheadle didn’t win. Between that and Breaking Bad my Sunday night was a mess.
Luvvie….I co-sign. LAWDT! This is why I don’t really bother with the “let’s pat-ourselves-on-our-bloated-backs stroke fests” that are televised.
And, this is why Natalie Maines don’t get no love from her “people”…..she puts ’em on blast errrytime….. 😉
Damn. Kerry Washington lost her nomination. Too bad. My 2cents: it’s tragic that there not been more POC nominees or winner from Academy in all these 64 years. Maybe if there was more diversity in all the entertainment academies’ membership, there’d be more diverse nominees and therefore more diverse winners. until then, that’s why we still need awards shows like Image awards and BET awards, Soul Train Awards, etc. until there is more diversity, we will have to congratulate and award our won…POC deserve better recognition.
Also too,Hmm, wouldn’t it be something if Black actors and actresses actually boycotted these awards shows as a group? Particularly ones such as the Emmys that have such a bad record with diversity?
Its funny, people wouldn’t stand for any other “business” or company or program that had such a poor showing of diversity as the Emmys has shown over 64 years.
Just sayin’. We wouldnt’ take that shhh
I need you to comment on everything, everyday, just so i can see your pic…..
The Emmy Awards were on? I had no idea. Guess I didn’t miss a thing.
I turned to watch Breaking Bad so I’m not sure if Kelly Dixon won for her work as editor on Breaking Bad. Although that was probably shown on the Creative Emmys aka the schemmys (™Kathy Griffin). Other than that Italian/Cuban Bobby Carnavale is was the only POC to win.
I watch and like Homeland, so I cant say I didn’t think the show deserved to win, but man I *REALLY* wanted Kerry to win.
Ryan Murphy seems to have a golden touch, so I’m hoping Gabby or Angela will make it up on that stage next year for American Horror story.
That tweet Natalie Maines sent out reminded my why I used to love the Dixie Chicks.
As for SNL. I’ve been done with that show for a long time now. I’ve watched since the beginning, but I haven’t found the show funny in a very long time. I mostly check youtube the next day for the one or two funny skits may happen. Lorne Michaels can keep his all boys club.
I meant to say if Kelly Dixon’s win was shown last night.
The people who get offended when the lack of color is pointed out obviously live in a world where they don’t miss seeing color. They don’t understand why it’s being brought up or why it’s an issue. Ok?! Good on Natalie Maines for commenting about the lack of diversity. It actually looked like the GOP convention.
It’s not just that people of color are part of culture but hell, we contribute to ratings and make a huge impact for advertisers. Without us and our demographics many of those popular shows wouldn’t be popular and wouldn’t have the advertisers they need for the shows payroll.
One of the reasons I enjoy the Tony award show is because of the number of Black people in attendance, nominated and winning.
People claiming we seek validation obviously don’t care if deserving people get accolades from their peers. It’s common courtesy. They do their job, we contribute to popular culture so yes like you said We deserve an invite to the party.
And then some saying well Kerry has next year..sooo why couldn’t next year have been Claire’s year she won before but no black female led has EVER! They keep saying next year will be it but what if it never comes that is why we are a little upset.
Calling out Sofia on her dress is not how you show blacks are deserving of more respect.
But we don’t have enough negative attention so…. Thanks for the cute comment.
You missed my point. I wasn’t calling out Sofia on her dress. I was calling her out for being a walking stereotype of the “spicy Latina.” She does too damb much.
Sofia is the new millenium Charo. The Emmys are the same damn nominations EVERY year. I would hope after 3-4 wins, that’s it, you step out. I don’t watch most of what’s nominated so I just don’t bother watching. I did love Columbus Short’s and Guillermo’s tweets after Kerry lost. To see Guillermo do a ‘Kanye’would have been great!
But they were all sitting in Jeff Perry’s living room, being polite. Good on ’em.
Also, wouldn’t it be polite to tell the OLD millennium Charo that she’s done before usurping the throne?
At least RuPaul has Charo’s back.
Completely missed that one didn’t they?
Alas, it is also what’s paying her bills these days…
If we really want to create, participate and be recognized then we need to own production and distribution avenues. We have to realize and finally accept that you can’t change a system that wasn’t created for us or to include us in any real way that isn’t a stereotype or a subjugation to a white character. “Hollywood” never was and never will be about equity for non-white folks. It is the reason why they could organize an awards show and not realize that they had a sea of white folks as far as the eye can see.
They will always be willing to make superficial changes when it becomes as glaring as it was last night but after the shock and awe dies down they know they can go right back to doing what they have ALWAYS done. Because they know we and other non-white people will continue to support and try to be “included” in their(because that is how the view it) system.
everytime someone ask where there a black xxxxx event or say there is no ‘white’ awards show, they need to see that screen shot. GOP need to start kissing Hollywood a$$ if they want to get back in the white house.
I was over this reckless ass show a long time ago, along with the Grammy’s and the Oscars (anyone that passes over Alfre Woodard, Taraji P. Henson and continously passes Viola Davis over like it’s a doggone game cannot be trusted). Award shows have been lily white for years and their rationale is “well hell, they got the BET Awards and the Image Awards, so fuck ever!” But it’s one thing to have your own recognize your accomplishments (even if they don’t always) but it’s a whole other thing to be recognized for your greatness by the entire community. #butimsleeptho I don’t wish any of these academies great things in life and I don’t wish them well.
On another note, WERK MADAME WASHINGTON!!!!!!! #bowdown and I’m starting to like Natalie Maines lil’ country self more and more after she and Dixie Chicks read W. his rights and privileges.
Lastly, Luvvie, your .gifs give me life and take it back at the same damn time and I love you for it. Never change. KIT xoxoxox lol
You GOT to watch the first 2 seasons of Homeland. Season 3 starts next week!
Diversity Gap in the Emmy Awards Infographic
“And it’s tired. It’s too white. It’s too bore. It won’t fit. It got a big budget. Just a big budget.”
Am i wrong for singing this to Beyonce’s “Ego” lol
Not wrong at all. It was my inspiration for it. 😉
No POC? So you just gon’ act like all those orange people weren’t there, huh? I see how you get down Luvvie!
The Emmys messed up really badly when they gave the Emmy for best supporting actor to Aaron Paul when he was competing against Giancarlo Esposito. Even AP said GE, a man of color, deserved to when because his portrayal of Gus Fring was a master class of subtlety.
Khandi Alexander never had her transcendent work on Treme recognized which is an absolute shame and scandalous.
I enjoy Scandal very much, but I gotta give it up for Angela Chase. You need to get you a piece of Homeland. Her Emmy reel for the episode she submitted (“Q&A”) was riveting.
I was, however, really happy that Anna Gunn won. The level of misogynistic bile leveled at her character and her (people have threatened to rape her because they don’t like Skyler) was ridiculous. I wish she’d gotten up there and said, “To all my haters: the line to kiss my ass starts here. Stay mad because while I’m collecting awards and coins, ya’ll are the crib watching me do it.” If we couldn’t strike a blow against racism, I’m at least glad that we struck a blow against misogyny. What a wonderful day it will be when we do both.
I also must say that Anna Gunn’s win was a reading of all the extremely misogynistic people who hate Skyler White and, because of their hatred of her, threaten to rape and murder Anna Gunn.
Didn’t watch, had no interest in the show. I looked at what everybody wore today when I got to work, and really, that’s all I needed.
…and I don’t think Kerry Washington is that great an actress. Yes, I love Scandal, but it’s the show as a whole – the storylines, the ensemble cast. All KW does is stomp around in fly clothes with a quivering lip. If she’d won, I’d be happy for her, but I’m not mad that she didn’t.
I do hope that our value is recognized and that we are given, or make for ourselves, an opportunity to shine. I hope this for all POC – I can’t imagine how Asians and Latinos feel the morning after – they’re less “well” represented than are we.
This! I totally agree.
I agree with all of this. I find Scandal and its cast highly entertaining, but hardly award worthy. Obviously, many people disagree and it is pointless to get into a debate over it. What upsets me most about the rancor over Washington is that it didn’t exist when black actors, actresses, and shows who did stand up there with the best of them were being ignored. Why weren’t people going hard like this when The Wire and Idris Elba were being ignored? The Wire is consistently ranked by critics as being in the top 5 dramas ever, but I didn’t see much protest from black people when it wasn’t getting its due from the academy. I didn’t see the same outrage on behalf of Idris Elba. And, what about Treme and Khandi Alexander? I never saw anger on social media, blogs, or among black people when they too were being ignored despite their being compelling and right up there with the other cable channel casts and shows. I am really puzzled as to why the anger and outrage we see today didn’t exist when these shows, performances, and casts are far better than those of KW and Scandal. We should have been making our case back then because those shows should have been sweeping and, at the very least, making a strong presence at the Emmys. I really would like to know why we weren’t as angry back then when these critical darlings were being ignored by the academy. What makes Scandal and KW so much more worthy of our attention than those other actors, actresses, and shows that totally revolve around the lives of black people whereas Scandal is about a black woman’s ruthless quest to maintain white power structures. All of those shows challenged the racism, white supremacy, and systemic and structural racism the black and poor face. I guess white people aren’t the only ones who ignore black stories, actresses, actors, casts, and shows that revolve around black people. It truly undermines our credibility when we do this.
You hit me deep, man. I LOVE Scandal. But you speak the truth.
I love Scandal too. I find it highly entertaining. I enjoy it and I think KW is a lovely person. I find it deeply troubling that people are crying racism when a show built around a black woman compromising herself at every turn to uphold elitism and the oppressive white power structures doesn’t get awards, but didn’t do the same when these other shows got ignored. The Wire and Treme both challenge white supremacy and depicted the bad behavior of elites, particularly white elites, for what they are: filthy, racist, and devastatingly oppressive. The Wire and Treme told stories very relevant and important to black lives. They were stories about us and how we are victimized by the same powerful people Olivia Pope pulls out of the fire every week. I get that the ghettos, schools, prisons, and docks of Baltimore aren’t as glamorous as balls at the White House. I get that post-Katrina New Orleans isn’t as sexy as a torrid affair with the president. But I also get that we ourselves are shunning our own stories, the talented black actors and actresses who play them, and are seemingly as indifferent to them as the academy is. It is racist and appalling that The Wire, Treme, and their casts were never recognized by the Emmys despite critics lauding them and lavishing them with praise not merely as “guilty pleasures,” but as deep and penetrating art. I just wonder if our failure to protest then or even acknowledge it now is a function of our own internalized white supremacy. Again, if we ignore our own stories and nearly all black casts, can we really be pressed when white people do it too?
Your comments are well thought out and I appreciate that. But can you put them in paragraphs because the big block of text makes them hard to read. Just separate the comment into 2 or 3 parags next time. Thank ya kindly.
Indeed (con’t) Those are excellent points, ASYNC. That’s why it’s so important to support artists like Dui Jarrod, Barry Jenkins and others who are telling thought-provoking stories that exceed stereotypes. Unfortunately, black mainstream television is “Basketball Wives” and “Love and Hip-Hop.”
(SMDH at Saturday Night Live!)
As Milaxx pointed out, The Wire didn’t really get its audience until after the series ended. I watched it two years after its finale.
I think the bigger piece is accessibility. Not everybody has “premium” cable/a Netflix account, while Scandal is on a “basic cable” station.
There was protest over The Wire continual snubs at pretty much ALL the awards show. The problem is The Wire during it’s hey day had a very small following/fandom and was easily ignored or written off as a “Black Show”. A goof 50% of it’s current fandom didn’t even get into the show until either the final season or after the show was off the air.
The Emmys bored me to death. |here lies a bored ass black girl| My boyfriend is white and he ain’t even know what was goin on. And Kerry didn’t lose… We just gone say she came in 2nd place. Olivia Pope don’t lose sheit! But I AM just gone go to church next Sunday and lay down my burdens. I’m assuming da homie Jesus was busy while we were praying for some chocolate on the Emmy stage…
Homeland is EVERYTHING…..I LOVETH at show. I loves me some Olivia Pope but Claire Danes is a beast on Homeland.
I was curious about the who, what, when, where and how of the Emmy voting process. Per their site, , they don’t allow just any old body in the front door. They encourage big companies to join their little WASPfest. Ergo, big budgets for more lackluster entertainment. Note: Applications from members to participate as judges are scrutinized. Probably to ensure the right sort of people will make the right sort of choices. I wonder how many votes are courted over lunches at the Ivy and deals sealed with awesome SWAG bags?
Here’s Rue’s quote about the Emmy Awards from her book, My first Five Husbands
“I don’t cotton to awards shows. Back in the seventies, during my first sojourn in La-La-Land, as Brad Davis called Hollywood, I was invited one year to be on the Emmy Awards judging committee to choose Best Actor in an Hour Comedy Series, and the next year, Best Actress in a Sitcom. What an eye-opener! We were presented with the five best performers picked from hundreds of actors by the Television Academy voters. The best five. So far, so good. For my money, all five were winners, having been voted by the entire Academy as the best of the bunch.
But now a dozen judges were to pick the Best Performer. And who were the venerable twelve? Well, there was a disc jockey, a daughter of a local L.A. radio personality, a few small-name actors like me, and a handful of even dimmer bulbs on the marquee. Might as well have been a dozen hardware store owners. We watched one show each entered by the five competitors, then ranked them #1 to #5. The actor with the most #1s got the Emmy. That’s how it’s done. And my #1 choice never won, so I maintain the system is a crock!”
So if voters aren’t fans of the show, it’s up to a room full of people getting just one glimpse of your performance to come to a consensus as to whether you deserve the award or not. If that’s the case I can easily see Claire winning over Kerry. Appreciating Kerrys performance really requires taking in the show as a whole.
I had to come out of hiding for this one because it made me feel a certain way. Sometimes I do want there to be equal recognition or hell, equal ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of minorities in the entertainment industry…
But then I see it exploited as a novelty — see: Oscars where Halle Berry and Denzel won (and ensuing media coverage). See also: that one Grammys from WAY back when Ricky Martin, JLo and errybody (even NSYNC) sang in Spanish.
There’s one of two extremes: being completely absent or being an Uncle Tom/whatever Sofia Vergara is… It all just makes me so tahd, Luvvie!
::lays burdens down::
Sorry for the bad formatting Luvvie. My computer and I are having marital woes.
And it’s not as if Saturday Night Live hasn’t had a female problem since 1975 — in fact, women have fared only slightly better than performers of color there historically, so you know Danitra Vance wasn’t feeling it at all. Gilda Radner was ready to be pimped out. Julia Louis-Dreyfus just kind of left quietly and went back to her bizness. Jane Curtin was treated very poorly for most of the time she was there and got called an uptight so-and-so for all her troubles. It could be said that the first woman in Lorne Michaels World to garner any kind of respect (and only minimally, to be real) is Tina Fey, and he still pushed her around even after he made her head writer.
Why should we give Black people awards for new and organic ideas when we can just wait a year to reward the white person who reinvents/appropriates their idea?
OOPS!! Was that my sarcasm hanging out? *tucks bitterness into back pocket*
Don’t worry, Luvvie. Next year OITNB will be eligible for the Emmys and Hollywood will fall all over itself feeling good about how diverse the cast is. But Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon will be the ones whose outfits are oohed and ahhed over on the red carpet.
hi luvvie im trying to comment
You succeeded, Irene.
Homeland is a great show.
YO I’M ABOUT TO HAVE A BOWEL MOVEMENT. GIRL BYE.
[…] to make diversity a priority on a real level (like this awesome Slate article suggests), because TV is just really white. When we talk diversity, the convo usually means “add Black people.” We forget to […]
[…] doesn’t mean I can’t comment on it and point it out. Last year, I wrote a piece called The 2013 Emmys Embodied TV’s White Problem. That didn’t change much (or at all) in 2014. And every year, I will continue to point out […]
[…] countless others) have spent years complaining about the monochrome Emmy Awards (read: my post on 2013 Emmy Awards Embodied TV’s White Problem). It is usually a show that is white people giving other white people every award, and the audience […]
[…] countless others) have spent years complaining about the monochrome Emmy Awards (read: my post on 2013 Emmy Awards Embodied TV’s White Problem). It is usually a show that is white people giving other white people every award, and the audience […]