In a world where African Americans are often shut out or forced to work twice as hard to receive any credit, the presence of Black life and culture at the “69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” on Sunday evening was a refreshing change of pace.
Lena Waithe poses in the press room with the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving” at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
In fact, history was made as Lena Waithe, (“Master of None”) became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, Donald Glover became the first African-American to win for comedy-series directing for his show “Atlanta” and Sterling K. Brown became the first Black actor since 1998 to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, for his role as Randall Pearson on NBC’s “This is Us.”
Waithe won the award for an episode of “Master of None” where her character revealed she was gay to her family. Her acceptance speech resonated with many as she spoke on LGBTQ issues, a topic which is often taboo in the Black community. “The things that make us different, those are our superpowers,” she said to applause.
Donald Glover, whose purple suit reflected the late Prince, said, “I’m glad that I was able to make history, but that’s not what I was trying to do…I just wanted to make a really good show.”
Donald Glover poses in the press room with his awards for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series and for outstanding directing for a comedy series for “Atlanta” at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Dave Chapelle (along with John Oliver) helped make #DCPublicSchools a trending topic on Twitter. It all started when Dave Chapelle joined Melissa McCarthy on stage to present the award for Best Director of a Comedy Series.
Chapelle said, “Now I will read this teleprompter, please forgive me. Shout out to D.C. Public Schools.”
On the other side of the coin, some controversy was present. Sterling Brown’s speech was cut short by his mic being cut off, a move which was met with backlash on social media. However, this practice is not uncommon and Brown was allowed to continue his speech backstage which went on for approximately another five and a half minutes. Despite the interruption, many are calling Brown’s speech the highlight of the awards show.
Sterling K. Brown poses in the press room with the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for “This Is Us” at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Other controversy included the late Dick Gregory and Charlie Murphy not being memorialized during the annual “In Memoriam” segment, which managed to find room for Roger Ailes, the disgraced former head of Fox News.
Despite a few hiccups, Black excellence shined through at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards.