Regina, Uzo, Viola and The Blackest Emmy Awards Ever
I (and 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 is sprinkled with a few Black and brown faces to keep everyone patting their own backs. Not this year. Well, it’s still a big white scoop with colored sprinkles, except the Black sprinkles walked on stage and got the props they deserve. It was the Blackest Emmy Awards I’ve ever seen, and this is why I have hollered myself hoarse.
My throat is hurting for spending much of the evening screaming like a banshee. Three Black women whose work I LOVE walked away with awards, and I cannot stop being geeked about it. The big winners of the night were: Veep, Game of Thrones and Black women.
BLACKEST. EMMYS. EVER. Not only were Black people nominated for more awards than ever (like 25), more walked away with them too. Besides the women who won, Reg E. Cathey, won for his role in House of Cards. On top of that, there was Noire on that stage throughout the night as presenters with melanin came through. Reg was a presenter and when that baritone hit the mic and the vibrations made it to my ears, let me just stop right there. All I’ma say is LAWD THAT VOICE!
ENNEHWEIGHS, I am still feeling giddy about the fact that three melanin-full women walked away with awards in their hands.
First was for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard were presenters and it was a tough category that included Kathy Bates the Beast. I was sure she would win because it’s Kathy MUFUGGING BATES. THREE out of the six the nominees were Black women, though (Angela Bassett for American Horror Story: Freak Show and Mo’Nique for Bessie). The name that Taraji called out was REGINA KING for American Crime. She SCREAMED it out!
Lemme tell you something. A scream escaped from my mouth at the same damb time. I WAS SO EXCITED. Regina King is shero status for me and I met and interviewed her this year at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The woman has a 30+ year career in an industry that loves to eat you up and spit you out in 15 minutes. She’s been in front of the camera, behind it, in the writing room, animated, funny, serious.
She defies boxes and she’s done it while keeping her life private and her boundaries up. She is absolutely someone worthy of emulation. There are some folks who are great for spurts of time. She’s managed to do it for decades, and still look like she’s in her 20s. It makes absolutely no sense that her Black refuses to wrinkle, let alone crack.
When Regina stepped on stage and another YESSSSS escaped from Taraji’s mouth, I got all verklempt. She could not help herself but to be overjoyed to be giving her friend this award. It was sisterhood and it was perfection. Regina, girl. Yes.
And then, our (yes, OUR) 2nd win for the night was in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category. Another incredibly tough one, with 2 actresses from my beloved Game of Thrones (Emilia Clarke and Lena Headley) and Christina Hendricks from Mad Men. The winner was UZO ADUBA! In that moment, she became a history-maker. She became the first woman to win Best Actress in a Comedy AND Drama for the same role. First WOMAN. Last year, Orange is the New Black was under the “comedy” and she won in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category.
My girl got on that stage and thanked the Lord, because He is to be praised. She thanked her family, especially her sister who was her date for the evening. She thanked her castmates and Jenji Kohan. I had tears in my eyes and I was grinning like a cheshire cat. This classically-trained opera singer who attended Julliard and then burst through the scene in Orange is the New Black was making me proud like I was the one paying her school fees. Her name is Uzoamaka, and she is making history. WHEN I TELL YOU I DON SHOUT FINISH.
Mannnn, look. See my Naija sisthren outchea prospering like this. NAIJA NO DEY CARRY LAST. You know she got some prayer warriors and people covering her with blood of Jesus because she is blessed and highly favored.
In true Naija style, Thanksgiving services for Uzoamaka’s Emmy award will take place at Redeem Church on Sunday from 9am – 3pm. Prayer warriors, please fast for 3 days before. Thank you. Bring snacks. We will also need someone to bring puff puff and suya for the after services. And jollof rice. And meatpie. In fact, we’re calling purple gele too. We have to wash this occasion well well.
The moment that really had my heart swelling 1,000 times its’ size because it was the proudest, most unapologetically Black girl moment of the evening. One of the last awards of the evening was Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. That category was jam-packed full of dope women, including Robin Wright from House of Cards. Taraji for Empire, Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men, Claire Danes from Homeland. The name that was called was: VIOLA DAVIS for How to Get Away with Murder.
COME. THROUGH!!! She was already looking like a queen with that halo of fro she was rocking around the face that was snatched with red lipstick. The white dress against that chocolate skin too? YES MA’AM. YES PAM. This was also a historic moment because Viola is the first Black woman to win this category. She got there from pure hard work, grit and talent. She is standing there showing that you can get good enough where they have no other choice but to pay attention to you.
Viola started by quoting Harriet Tubman, and the only way she could have been Blacker in that moment was if she had called her Araminta.
‘“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.”
That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.’
She used the rest of her speech to celebrate Black women and call the other sisters in the industry out by name. At this point, I was in my house so deep in my feelings I needed to doggie paddle my way out.
It was a beautiful moment, and the camera panned to Kerry Washington who was in tears. Taraji, who had run to hug Viola the moment her name was called, looked like it was SHE who had won. And really, it was.
Black women are EVERYTHING. Let me repeat. BLACK. WOMEN. ARE. EVERYTHING. So proud. Always proud. Whenever I hear people say “women don’t support each other” my only question is “BISH WHERE?” We do. I see sisterhood all around me. My village is of nothing but women who prop each other up, and that is the norm more than the exception.
There was also Tracy Morgan, who was making his first awards show appearance since that major car accident he was in last year. I was already fragile at that point.
It was so good to see him! This man lost one of his best friends in that accident, spent 8 days in a coma and suffered serious neurological damage. To see him walk on that stage, unassisted and speaking in full sentences? LISTEN HERE. It was a moment of victory and the room gave him a fitting standing ovation. Salute, indeed.
It was a night of mahogany celebration.
Even the commercials were hella Black. Especially that Apple Music ad featuring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji jamming to the “Instant Boyfriend Mixtape Playlist.” AND it was directed by Ava DuVernay, whose Blackness can’t ever be questioned. She’s so Black, she could vouch for Rachel Dolezal to come into our annual picnic and I’d only be mad for like 15 minutes. You already know how Black the rest of those ladies are. Mary J. has sang about chicken before. It does not and will not ever get any Blacker than that. And Taraji told Jody how much she hates him several times. And Kerry is married to a Nigerian man and got an Igbo name now (Ogechi). I call her AdeKerry, doe, because us Yorubas wanna claim her too. That’s my cousin.
I want this commercial to win an Emmy itself. I don’t even care the category. They can create a new one called “Most Awesome Thing” because I loved it. Chile, when I tell you I’ve watched that commercial at least 10 times? I mean it. Like, I’m actually kinda mad that they didn’t invite me to that jam session. That is squad goals epitomized. I love my crew but I mean, they wouldn’t mind loaning me to these women for one day (or forever). I already checked.
I legit wanted to go sign up for Apple Music IMMEJATELY. They can take all my money. You keep making good ass ads and I just might pay for it because I’m impressionable AND easy to impress. The other commercial I was digging were the Samsung ones (I use a Galaxy S5), because they used the music of a young Black British rapper named Lady Leshurr. I was like OK DEN, Black Girl Magic!
Whew. The Emmys got me TOO hype. It was special. If you’re white and wondering why we’re celebrating this so much, you should know that this is what privilege looks like. Never noticing that you are NOT in the room means you are ALWAYS in the room, which is a benefit we do not have.
The issue of diversity (or lack thereof) in Hollywood is critiqued often. When Emmy host Andy Samberg was doing a mini tribute to Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live, he mentioned that over 40 of the people who were nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award had worked for Lorne. It showed how incredibly powerful this one man and that ONE show is to the careers of people working in TV. SNL is a spring board and if comedians of colors are being locked out, it locks them out of many other opportunities in the TV industry. That lack of diversity goes down to Upright Citizen Brigade, where most of SNL’s castmembers are plucked from. Rita Chinyere, a Black woman who has been in UCB wrote a piece recently saying why she’s quitting the place.
Back in May, when that Deadline piece dropped asking if there was too much “ethnicity” on television, we had to fight the air in rage. How dare they ask that question when TV’s commitment to be Pre-technicolor Pleasantville is long and strong? And here we are, few months later, celebrating historical wins by Black women who have not just earned it, but they have the experience and training to back it up. They have put in WORK.
Last night’s wins were not tokenism. They were a long time coming and it was given to women whose performances in their shows have compelled people to fall in love with their characters and marvel at their work every episode.
Now’s a good time to remember that diversity does not just mean “More Black people.” It means more Latin@s, more Asians, more Trans* people, more gay people, more disabled people. Diversity is supposed to be about a better reflection of the world we live in. Every space does not need to be for everybody nor it does mean every single show needs to be the Rainbow Coalition. But television as a whole, can no longer be majority straight, white men and women. It cannot. Sure, there’s room for Girls but ALL programs cannot look like they’re about their next door neighbors and family members.
We might be getting our feet in the door but we need to get the rest of our bodies in there too. This is a start. THIS is a victory that we should celebrate. However, we cannot stop the work that got those gains, because when we rest, they get erased.
Regina. Viola. Uzo. Black, and you stepped in a room full of white and ended up with gold in your hands! So proud. #Emmys
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) September 21, 2015
Whew! I got the warm and fuzzies all over again. Did you watch the Emmys? What were our thoughts?
Edit: Oh and I just found out that Queen Latifah’s Bessie took home 4 Emmy Awards! They weren’t aired but the film won Outstanding TV movie. SEE? BLACKITY BLACK. Get it!
I cried during that commercial. It was unmitigated black girl magic and joy. I cried when Viola won. Seeing my sisters win and be glorious made me feel as If I had won in some way too.
Whew congratulations to Regina, Uzo, and Viola. Chile let me tell you when Viola spoke black Moses I went into a trance. I could see her stepping over that line and while reaching for Taraji, Regina, Nicole, and Gabby. She let it be known she was taking that first step but she was bring her girls too.
I forgot to mention my girl Kerry in first post.
How do you make me laugh so hard while (on a serious note) dropping so much knowledge and spitting so much truth. You are gifted, Luvvie!
I missed the awards, but your words took me there. Beautifully written. You embody the sentiments you expressed for your sister-girls. Now, as an older sister, I’m claiming you as my e-daughter.
But Jessica Williams came to The Daily Show from UCB Los Angeles, right?
But I get you. Looking through just current cast pages, things are pretty pale (Aziz Ansari in the upper left-hand corner, Nicole Byer, Jonathan Fernandez, Donald Glover is still listed, Jerah Milligan, and Sasheer Zamata is still listed), and let’s not even talk about Second City and the Groundlings.
Whew! I was laugh – crying through your entire post. I could feel all of the feels! I missed last night’s Emmy Awards, but you made me feel like I was there. Thanks for the wonderful recap.
I know she didn’t take home any gold, but I swear fo Lawd, Taraji was the biggest winner. Or at least that’s the way she looked. To be able to present her friend Regina with a long overdue statue and then that hug and her solitary standing ovation for Viola, WHEW! I was so in my feelings. I’ve no idea what could have possibly made the night better. And I doubt I could have handled anything more. This is the start of the new normal. Ain’t no turning back.
I watched the whole show for the first time in many moons, and reading your words here I am experiencing it all over. This post is all things good and then some. I’ll never think of sprinkled ice cream in the same way again. Thanks for reminding us that POC falls short as it doesn’t include our LBQT brothers and sisters and the disabled.
The next time some ignorant tweeter starts with the bs–I am going to send them to this for education! If they want to learn, they will get it. If not, then you know Maya said, “when someone tells you who they are believe them.”
I wrote some thoughts about this on my blog, “A Prayer for Viola, Regina, Uzo and Reg”
“Diversity is supposed to be about a better reflection of the world we live in.”
With all due respect, if white people are the majority of the population, wouldn’t they be the majority of the nominees and winners of awards ? Just according to the numbers ? Is that not a true reflection ?
It should be about excellence and hopefully the pool of artists all had opportunities. I am not sure that white people are the majority and for me that does not matter. Ask yourself if the awards ever reflected the world we live in. You may want to take a look at diversity quiz by @VictoriaMahoney.
So you think television and media should only represent the 13 percent of the population that is African American? Do you know what would happen if I was to move to anywhere in sub Saharan Africa and demand more White representation in television and media? I would be laughed at and rightfully so.
The world we live in…? I don’t know about you, but I grew up in upper Midwest where the vast amount of the population is White. The only places African Americans were represented were the inner cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit. Everywhere else outside of those pockets shared my race and ethnicity. I’m now an engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area where there are more Asians (Southeast and Indian subcontinent) and Hispanics and some Blacks (mainly Oakland and Richmond). If you truly wanted a more diverse cast that reflected the ‘world we live in’, then you would be pushing for more programming for those groups and not Blacks. Also, White Americans were the ones that invent both television and movie industry. As a result, the industry is going to reflect its creators.
“Diversity is supposed to be about a better reflection of the world we live in.”
JJ – Whites may be the majority in America, but the statement is about the world. White people are the minority on a global scale by a long shot. People of color outnumber Whites by far. The world is ridiculously diverse…not White at all.
Whites are made to feel like they are a majority because in America, they are over represented on tv, media, film, radio, etc. And just FYI, by 2050 America will actually by majority minority, meaning Whites will be the minority even in America.
The term ‘majority minority’ only means all ‘non-white’ groups combined will be larger than the non-hispanic White population. However, that non-hispanic White group will still be larger than all other groups individually, including hispanics which is an ethnicity. African Americans will still only represent around 12-15 percent of the population in 2060.
Also, by your logic, blacks would not be a majority group in the global population either. The two largest population centers in the world are the Asian countries of India and China with more than a billion citizens each. Though China has a very monolithic population with the Han ethnic group. India is far in a way very diverse in both ethnicity and culture.
White people are not the majority. Not even here. And especially in California.
Actually, non-hispanic white people represent 64 percent of the US population. Black people represent just 13 percent. By 2050, non-hispanic White people will represent about 46 percent of the population, but will still represent the largest group of all the ‘minority’ groups. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Great post, and even greater night at the Emmys! Watching all these women support and lift each other up…it was so fantastic. (Not to mention that epic Apple commercial.) And, to add to all you mentioned, TWO women won directorial awards! That in itself is pretty unheard of.
I literally hollered when Viola Davis said that line “the only thing that separates women of color is opportunity”. I had just had that same conversation with my husband a few days ago (after seeing the Perfect Stranger movie) and said the exact same thing in not so many words but she said it better and more eloquently than I could ever have. I was thinking the 3 main actors in that movie ought to have gone further in Hollywood and the only thing holding them back is the opportunity and roles.
I did love her speech and the fact that she acknowledged her peers BUT I dont want to see “forced diversity” on tv. That would be worst than no diversity at all. Plus, I dont want our black actors to publicly beg for roles. I thk we should keep creating them 4 ourselves. Let s face it, that s the reason behind the success of Empire and Shonda s shows. colored characters are written by colored people and that s what makes them real.
Thank Gawd I’m wearing new waterproof eyeliner this morning ’cause this post has me all teary eyed. Last night’s Emmys was everything! I screamed so much at the TV seeing black women literally winning (and because GoT). Love it! And yes, also more diversity in terms of more Blacks, but also Asian, Latino, gays and trans representation. Hollywood needs to get it together, but this is definitely a start.
Why am I reading this early in the morning and experiencing sweaty eyeballs. I. Cannot. This recap was everything as was last night’s show (that I, ashamedly missed).
Side note: that commercial MUST be recreated. Let’s get to it ;-).
On top of all that Bessie won for Best TV Movie!!!!!!
Awesomely on point! Great read! I love it! You are on point with erythang! I’m coming to the jam session too so save me a seat! LOL
Standing ovation on everything in this post – bravo, Luvvie, bravo!!! My only disappointment, slight as it was, was that Ms. Cicely Tyson did not win for her special guest role in a drama, for playing Viola’s mother in HTGAWM. When she had Viola’s character seated while she was combing through her hair and scratching her scalp, talking about what happened when she was young, I got chills. After gathering myself back together, I thought, “Emmy.” I was excited when she got nominated.
I did not watch the awards because I have just gotten away from these shows for the very “we are not included” reason. But I say Viola’ speech and the very oxygen I breath was snatched from my lungs! Congratulations to all of these lovely ladies on their well deserved wins. And like Santrina said – Viola carried it like black Moses. I was waiting for the Red Sea to part, Issac Hayes to show up and for Viola to pull out a Soul Train fist pick out her clutch.
But Luvvie, I am waiting on you to roast Ms. Thang who tried to give Miss Viola the what fors and why nots on twitter about her speech. Because when I first saw that, I immediately when looking for your response.
Beautiful recap. Great way to start Monday morning Luvvie!
Thank you Luvvie. I missed last night’s show. You bring life to the SISTERHOOD!
Luvvie: Brilliant post, ma’am. As always.
And you sounded one warning note I must amen after years of publishing: The sheer talent of Regina King, Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson, every amazing woman listed above, is at risk unless we all watch and buy the shows, ads and music women make. Every day we have to crack open our purses and vote with our cold cash. That talks a mouthful to power. Because as you say:
“We might be getting our feet in the door but we need to get the rest of our bodies in there too. This is a start. THIS is a victory that we should celebrate. However, we cannot stop the work that got those gains, because when we rest, they get erased.”
Can I even say how thrilled I was every one of those women won? This white girl cried when Regina won–she’s been my favorite for years IT’S ABOUT TIME QUEEN WON. And if you watched a minute of TV you KNOW UZO should just be handed every award and escorted to the door, why even have a show, she is MAGIC.
I can’t pretend I know what it’s like to not see me represented, I don’t get that right, but the right women won because they were THE DAMN BEST. Happy dancing all over the place.
I see sisterhood all around me. My village is of nothing but women who prop each other up, and that is the norm more than the exception. – All of those women exuded this, which is why I am still crying from last night’s show.
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I remember Reg E. Cathey from his roles on Law and Order SVU…his voice is like manna from the Heavens above!!!! Just beautiful!
Every time I see a post about the Black Awesomeness at the Emmys, I just wanna bust out in a Brother Franklin praise dance….word is bond!
Now if we can just work on diversity BEHIND the camera too that would be nice. Wasn’t no type of color going up for directing and writing and producing (except Key & Peele).
What a night indeed. I have been a Viola Davis fan for the last 15 years although her career extends long before that, and have seen her passed up and overlooked time and time again, but last night, my acting shero won! She WON! I screamed so many times, my mother told me to shut up. Haha. I couldn’t help but notice another variant of white privilege last night, that so many of the white winners were honored and surprised and happy even but the gravity behind the win was not there for me. I don’t want to criticize too much but it was just a win for many of them, a glorious, incredible, wondrous win, but just a win. For the Black winners it was stepping into a new era, a knocking down of doors, and a way off the island of being unappreciated and ignored at work. That is white privilege.
Lastly can you please include bisexual people into your call for more inclusion on tv & film? We are here in great numbers. Always have been. Always will be.
One word to sum up the Emmy’s and this post! YASSSSSSSS!
The only thing missing was an after party hosted by Ebony.
I didn’t even watch the show because I didn’t want to be mad. When I heard that Regina King had won…I was like YES YES YES YES YES YES
Regina is journeyman actress. In those trenches, year in, year out, bringing dignity to every role that she does. That she won – long overdue.
I have never seen Orange is the New Black, so I will take your word about the woman who won.
I tuned in the last 20 minutes.
I love Mad Men. I love Jon Hamm. I was so thrilled to see him FINALLY win.
Then came Best Actress. When they said Viola, and she ran and hugged Taraji….I was undone. Her speech…couldn’t heart it because all I could see is beautiful Viola standing there, in all her NATURAL beauty, holding that statue.
Kerry couldn’t hold it back, and Taraji was praising like she was in church on Sunday morning and Spirit had caught her.
So happy for all the winners. Nobody could get me down.
Be gone, haterz.
Luvvie, you killed your aunty Aina with the purple gele bit!!!!!!!!
Yes, yes a 1,000 times YAASSSSSSSS!!!
Great post. Killer show.
last night as I watched the emmy’s this is what I felt, as I read your recap again this quote came to mind.
“Sat in that jail, I sat in that jail til I near about done rot to death. I know what it like to wanna go somewhere and cain’t. I know what it like to wanna sing… and have it beat out ‘ya. I want to thank you, Miss Celie, fo everything you done for me. I ‘members that day in the store with Miss Millie – I’s feelin’ real down. I’s feelin’ mighty bad. And when I seed you – I know’d there is a God. I know’d there is a God.”
This is the joy I feel for those women that have not only paid their dues, but watched time and time again other women, white women get roles they could do. And now, now it is their turn and they are holding each other up and it fills my heart to see this and have them be the embodiment of this quote from the Color Purple.
It was a great night! Can’t remember the last time I sat and watched the Emmys, so glad nothing else was on TV last night! Here’s my post on the great wins last night: 2015 Emmys: A Trifecta of Strong Black Women
I wasnt there, i didnt watch it on tv but I just read this and cried, im feelin it too!!
Yep. It was a good night.
No tears here (I’m kinda dead inside) BUT!!! I’m glad I so happened to watch this year’s airing of the Emmy’s with my daughters. Good show, Queens! #SponsoredByMelanin
#sponsoredbymelanin ! yesssss!
Yes to all of this! I was shouting all over the place. And of course we were over here #igbokwenu proud! In fact, I think I’m making Suya DIS NIGHT!
[…] last night and this morning, it was as if it was brand new, with this post from AwesomelyLuvvie saying it all. The depth of joy and pride wasn’t surprising, of course. It was just so […]
To say that the Emmys made me emotional last night would be an understatement and it’s not because I love black people and the LGBTQ community (which I definitely do) but just what THOSE wins mean for ALL DIVERSITY.
I get choked up trying to put those emotions into words but as a kid that never saw someone that looked like herself on television or film, never heard MY name on television (outside of Japan) or could ever find it on one of those keychains that had everyone else’s names neatly labelled in all caps…
LAST NIGHT WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING.
I was on the Emmys red carpet last night, do you know how many Asians I saw WALKING the carpet? 7. That’s it. 7 and I think two were publicists.
The next time headlines announce how ‘people of colour’ are winning more and being represented better in the Emmys/Oscars/Tonys I hope it includes ALL folks of colour, not just black but Latinos and Asians and Native Americans as well. I want a program to watch as beautiful as the variety of friends I have because they keep me grounded, humbled, cultured and informed and so should my entertainment.
I have never seen most of these shows. I don’t watch much television, so the Emmys don’t hold a lot of interest for me. And this comment is ridiculously superficial, so feel free to ignore me for not having something wise and profound to say. But when I saw a photo of Viola, my first thought was that she was the most beautiful woman in that place, and her dress probably had all the other ladies jealous.
“Never noticing that you are NOT in the room means you are ALWAYS in the room, which is a benefit we do not have.” I almost stopped reading right there because that ONE line was everything.
[…] read this post written by another fabulous black woman Awesomely Luvvie titled, Regina, Uzo, Viola and The Blackest Emmy Awards Ever, and I couldn’t help but […]
“…this is what privilege looks like. Never noticing that you are NOT in the room means you are ALWAYS in the room, which is a benefit we do not have.” Just loved this quote- so powerful and true!!
I cried and I cried then I read this and cried some more! Blackity Black Black Black!