“The Handmaiden’s Tale,” “Veep” and “Big Little Lies” won big at the 69th annual Emmy Awards Sunday night. But, the award show honoring the potent storytelling on the small screen made history in other ways.
“Master of None” star and screenwriter Lena Waithe became the first black woman to be nominated and win an Emmy for Outsanding Writing for a Comedy Series, along with the show’s creator Aziz Ansari. The pair took home the award for the season 2 episode “Thanksgiving,” which centers around Waithe’s character Denise navigating her sexuality and her relationships to her family after coming out.
Ansari likely recognized the impact of this win and chose to defer to Waithe for the speech. In it, she chose to elevate the LGBTQ+ community, saying, “The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is without us in it.”
Donald Glover made a mark on T.V. history last night, too. The actor, director, muscian and comedian took home two Emmys for his FX series, “Atlanta.”
With the two wins, Glover became the second black actor to win Best Actor in a Comedy (the last was Robert Guillaume in 1985) and the first black director to win for Best Directing in a Comedy.
Glover was quick to remind audiences of the context of his milestone wins within the context of our political climate.
“I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list,” he said in his second acceptance speech of the night. “He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”
Of course the systemic exclusion of people of color in the television industry spans far beyond President Donald Trump, if such milestones are still being reached nearly 70 years into the award show’s history.
While producers, writers and showrunners have made great strides in working toward telling inclusive, honest and representative stories, Waithe and Glover remind us there is plenty of work left to do.
Sean Spicer Shows
Sean Spicer made a surprise appearance during Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue much to the disbelief of those in attendance at the ceremony, and dismay of viewers at home.
As the camera cut to various celebrities’ shocked faces, but perhaps the most surprised person in the room was Melissa McCarthy, who impresonated him on “Saturday Night Live.”
Spicer’s appearance flies in the face of McCarthy’s insistence that the former White House press secretary does not get to be a part of the jokes.
Comedian Jason Sudeikis is 42 … Rapper Xzibit is 43 … Actor James Marsden is 44 … Actress Jada Pinkett Smith is 46 … Singer.-actor Frankie Avalon is 77 … Actor Fred Willard is 84 … Singer Jimmie Rodgers is 84.