If you watched last night's 70th Emmy Awards, you might have caught a few glimpses of the expanding diversity being recognized at recent award shows.
Hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost, this year's list of nominees was the most diverse in the history of the Emmy Awards. However, it was no sweeping victory for people of color--not by a long shot. But, alas, progress is still progress, and there were enough colorful moments sprinkled into the show to remind us that we have indeed been seated at one of the entertainment world's biggest tables.
From RuPaul winning awards for Best Reality Competition and Best Reality Host for RuPaul's Drag Race, to the "Reparation Emmys" skit that was both hilarious and nostalgic at the same time, the awards show definitely wanted to make sure that all of us "rooting for everybody black" (word to Issa Rae) were thoroughly entertained.
Two of the night's highlights was watching Regina King and Thandie Newton receive their awards, much to their own surprise. From the stunning red carpet to these two winning their awards in front of the world, Black Girl Magic illuminated last night.
Prior to the evening's win, King expressed her excitement at the increased diversity in Hollywood and at awards shows stating that rather than it being a trend, the "forward movement" is a good thing. The Cincinnati native revealed:
"I mean … it lets me know that there is forward movement. Because from the first time I was nominated to this time, each year it's been more people of color. And that's an exciting thing...I feel like when I speak to my peers and those up-and-coming creators that are black, I don't feel like it's a trend. So yeah, it's a good thing."
During Regina's acceptance speech for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie, she thanked the Academy for allowing Seven Seconds to highlight the reality of the world we are living in. And although she was totally unprepared to receive her third Emmy award, the 47-year-old handled the moment graciously and with a lot of humor, too. In part, she said:
"Really? Say word?... I didn't have nothing to say...I wasn't really expecting this, but I am so grateful Television Academy...Thank you for creating an opportunity to tell a story, and hold a mirror up to what's going on today. I am just floored."
She even threw in some lingo for those who didn't know about "no cap". And although she said she wanted to curse, the actress thanked Jesus instead.
For Thandie Newton, last night was a culmination of a long career in Hollywood. She took home her first ever Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role on Westworld. The London-born actress has been putting in that work for the last 27 years and is a testament to the notion that as long as you keep putting in the time and effort at perfecting your craft, the recognition will eventually catch up to your grind.
When her name was announced, she looked so shocked even if the rest of us already knew it was finally her time. During the speech, she referred to God as a woman saying:
"I don't even believe in God, but I'm going to thank Her tonight...I am so blessed and even without this [award], I am so <bleeping> blessed!"
She thanked the cast, crew, HBO, and her family. She said that her daughter just turned 18 years old and referred to her as her "north star" that she gets to guide and protect. Shoutout to all the working moms out there shining for your kids' sake.
Other winners who received their awards prior to the live telecast included:
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Tiffany Haddish, Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Katt Williams, Atlanta
Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation: Atlanta
Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour): Atlanta
Outstanding Live Variety Special: Jesus Christ Superstar Live, John Legend (co-producer) and first African-American man to achieve the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony wins)
Every step towards inclusive entertainment options and the recognition of its excellence helps us all, regardless of race, gender, creed, religion or anything else for that matter. Having the ability to tap into the lives and minds of people who aren't quite like you, and conversely, very much like you, brings more us all more understanding and relatability during this increasingly divisive period of time.
Congratulations to ALL of the winners!
Featured image by Getty Images