In the now infamous words of Issa Rae “I’m rooting for anybody black.” Any time that I decide to watch an awards show, I always watch with this sentiment. The Emmy’s 2022 were no different. Black people are top tier – we are special, and creative, and tenacious. When we get a chance to be recognized for those facts, I’m supporting 100 percent. So, this article is a celebration of our blackness. Here are some historic Emmy winning moments from last night’s 2022 awards.
But first, let’s discuss our host of this year’s Emmy – Kenan Thompson.
“Tonight, we celebrate the hundreds and hundreds of shows that were produced this year….and then we give awards to about five of ‘em.” Beginning of his opening monologue with a hard-hitting truth, Kenan set the stage for what we would be expecting out of this year’s Emmys. He had one job and that was to make this year slight better than last years – and he did that by a small margin. But I’m not here to criticize him, because I truly believe Kenan did what he could with what he was given. Even in a night full of light chuckles and forced laughter, he tried his best to be charming and exciting, but it was hard hill to climb.However, the best part of Kenan hosting was the Kenan and Kel reunion he gave us – and who doesn’t love a good reunion – especially between these two.
Now onto some history making….
Tell me what was the most deserving award of the night and tell me why it was Sheryl Lee Ralph? Tears and standing ovations categorized this historic win. For 35 years, Jackée Harry, who played Sandra on 227, was the only black woman to win Outstanding Supporting Actresses in a Comedy Series. And in the words of Jackée herself, “Winning my Emmy was a career highlight, but it was also a lonely experience”. Well, it’s lonely no longer. Last night, Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy for her character Barbara on Abbott Elementary. Shock and gratefulness flooded her face when she was announced, and the same sentiments filled her riveting speech. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Emmy Winner – has a beautiful sounding ring to it.
“To anyone who ever had a dream and thought your dreams couldn’t come true. I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. Don’t you ever give up on you”
Adding an Emmy under her belt and halfway to becoming a EGOT winner, Lizzo’s “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” dethrones “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for Outstanding Reality Competition Show. In an emotional speech, she referenced the stories that she wanted to see on television:
“When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see was me in the media. Fat like me. Black like me. Beautiful like me,” she continued. “If I could go back and tell little Lizzo something, I would be like, ‘You are gonna see that person but b—, it’s gonna have to be you.'”
And her it was. Thank you Lizzo for reminding the television community that representation matters, and representation not only includes skin color, but size too.
Another day, another Zendaya win, another historic moment. Zendaya is now the youngest two-time Emmy winner for acting in Emmy’s history. Along with that, she is also the First Black woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a series twice. Ever grateful, ever humble, ever sweet, in her speech, Zendaya thanks all of the fans who shared their stories with her. People who relate to her character, on Euphoria, Rue or are Rues themselves. She draws on those stories to bring Rue to life and that alone makes her a winner. We all know when years have passed and we are talking about the great actors and actresses of this time, Zendaya will always be on that list. It’s her world and we are just living in it.
Now there is no way we can talk about historic wins made by black people at the Emmy’s without including Quinta Brunson. Quinta was making history before the Emmy’s even premiered last night. Quinta was nominated for 3 Emmys including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. These 3 nominations made her the first Black woman to be nominated in 3 different comedy categories in the same year!
And she didn’t stop there. Last night, she won the Emmy for the Writing category making her just the third Black writer and only second black woman writer to win that award. To think, this was just Quinta’s first Emmys as well. Quinta is taking over and honestly, I’m obsessed.
And I know you all want me to mention the elephant in the room – Quinta stepping over a fallen Jimmy Kimmel to get her award. There are so many things to say regarding that – what it says abouts fragile white men, America, and the hills black women have to climb over literally and figurately to be in the spotlight. And yes, I could talk about all of them, but why would I? It was Quinta’s moment and that is what is important. Quinta won and nothing can take that moment from her!
So not only am I rooting for anyone black, but I’m also rooting for anyone different. It’s important for any non-white child to see themselves on screen, to see themselves win. Seeing non-white creatives win open more doors for opportunities to create shows that represent their community. Here are some more honorable mention wins from Emmys 2022.
Lee Jung-Jae – first Asian actor to win Emmy for Lead Actor in Drama Series (Squid Game) and just the fourth Asian actor ever to win an acting Emmy
Hwang Dong-Hyuk – outstanding director for Drama Series – first ever win in this category for a non-English language drama
John Legend – sang a beautiful rendition of his song “Pieces” during the In Memoriam segment honoring stars we have lost this past year including Olivia Newton-John, Betty White, Bob Saget, James Caan, Sidney Poitier, and more.
The Emmy’s were overall – in a word – boring. They were awkward and chaotic with very few jokes landing the way they should have. But most importantly, boring because Kenan was right…only about the same 5 shows took home awards. While we had a few breakthroughs with the aforementioned wins, the predicted shows won. The TV landscape has expanded over the past couple years with a mind blowing 559 original shows airing in 2021…and yet here we are. The Television Academy continues to want, once again, to stay in that box. Does this sound familiar? Well, it should – the Oscars tend to have the same problem. Now, I’m not saying these same shows don’t deserve their flowers, but with so much new television out there, so much new diversity out there – dear, Television Academy – it’s okay to explore something new.
Here is the full list of winners.