From representation to recognition: Black Hollywood's biggest wins at the 2022 Emmys –

From representation to recognition: Black Hollywood's biggest wins at the 2022 Emmys –

Photo courtesy of CNN
The 74th Emmy Awards ceremony returned on Monday, September 12th at the Microsoft Theater with comedian Kenan Thompson hosting. While the award show itself had equal measures of “wow” moments and awkward lulls, Black entertainers claimed the spotlight in a beautiful and historic display of recognition.
While Black talent has been increasingly well represented in the nominations in recent years, this year saw historic wins and nominations for veteran Black entertainers and household names including Sanaa Lathan (“Love & Basketball”, “The Best Man”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Dreamgirls”, “Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit”, “Moesha”), Colman Domingo (“Euphoria”, “Fear The Walking Dead”, “If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Tyler James Williams (“Everybody Hates Chris”, “The Walking Dead”) as well as some fresh faces intermixed. Let’s get into it.
1. Sheryl Lee Ralph

Photo courtesy of CNN
The veteran actress and activist accepted her first and long overdue Emmy for her supporting performance as longtime school teacher Barbara Howard in “Abbott Elementary”. She started her acceptance speech with an unforgettable rendition of Dianne Reeves’s “Endangered Species” before reminding us to never give up on ourselves. I don’t know about you, but Ralph is definitely my pick for the 2022 Outstanding Acceptance Speech award.
2. Quinta Brunson

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Quinta Brunson (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”) accepted her award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series with the grace and class of a seasoned professional, while Jimmy Kimmel prostrated himself onstage. Best known for her work on Buzzfeed, her latest project “Abbott Elementary” premiered as ABC’s highest-rated currently airing sitcom with a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Brunson’s representation of problems facing education in the inner city is fresh and honest without perpetuating the prevailing image of black suffering and struggle. If the success of “Abbott Elementary” is any indication of Brunson’s future work, we can expect to see her in this category for a long time.
3. Jerrod Carmichael

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Jerrod Carmichael accepted his award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special in a true winner’s style: rocking a white fur coat and gold necklace. His Emmy award-winning comedy special “Rothaniel: Jerrod Carmichael’’ exposes a much less confident side; in it, the veteran comic takes viewers on a journey of anger, sadness, and grief as he copes with the realization that he’s gay through the armor of comedy. His willingness to divulge the terror that comes with being a Black queer man pushed the boundaries of comedy in a progressive and inspirational way.
4. Lizzo
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Lizzo took home the Emmy for Outstanding Competition Program, dethroning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for the first time in four years. “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” a dance competition program depicting the growth and bonding of fat dancers as they compete for a spot in Lizzo’s touring ensemble, granted visibility to this community in an affirming, uplifting environment. This win sets Lizzo on the trajectory to EGOT status, following her Grammy wins in 2020. Given that this year marks her twelfth in the industry, I’d say it’s about damn time!
5. Zendaya

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Last and never least, Zendaya (“The Greatest Showman”, “Dune”, “Malcolm & Marie”) made history as the youngest lead actress to receive two nominations as teenage recovering addict Rue Bennett on “Euphoria” and the youngest woman to receive a producing nomination. She accepted the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the second time, making her the youngest woman in Academy history to do so. Notably, Zendaya is the only Black woman to win this title twice. In her acceptance speech, she highlighted the stories she’s heard from people who have experienced substance abuse addiction.
“I want you to know that anyone who has loved a Rue or feels like they are a Rue, I want you to know I’m so grateful for your stories,” Zendaya said. “I carry them with me, and I carry them with her.”
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