Los Angeles: The 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominated a record number of Black actors and the Television Academy pushed the envelope further by giving away an unprecedented number of trophies to Black artistes this year.
Actors Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II for “Watchmen”, Uzo Aduba for “Mrs America” and Zendaya “Euphoria” all won honours during Sunday’s remote ceremony organised in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With King winning lead actress in limited series or movie for “The Watchmen”, she tied the record for most Emmys won by a Black actor, with four. She now shares the mark with Alfre Woodard.
Abdul Mateen, who won the Emmy for supporting actor in limited series or movie, dedicated his win “to all the black women in my life”.
Aduba, who bagged her third Emmy for supporting actress in limited series or movie for playing Shirley Chisholm in “Mrs America”, accepted her award in a T-shirt featuring the name of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March, during the ceremony.
After her win, King, who also wore a similar T-shirt, told reporters, “I love being a Black woman, I loved being a Black girl. “I love being American, and it’s important that people see all of those things together, and when you have the platform celebrate that and remind those that tend to look past Black girls, Black women. When I saw my sister Uzo had on this same shirt it just was a confirmation that this was right.”
At 24, Zendaya became the youngest winner of the best lead actress in a drama trophy for her unsettling performance as a high school student Rue struggling with substance abuse in “Euphoria”.
She is also the second black woman to earn a win in the category after Viola Davis. Out of the 18 acting awards handed out at the 2020 “Pand-Emmys”, nine of them went to Black actors, which gives the performer parity with white actors, as no other people of colour won this year.
The quartet joins Eddie Murphy, Maya Rudolph and Ron Cephas Jones, who won guest acting Emmys on Saturday, which brings the count to seven Emmy wins by Black actors in the drama, comedy and limited series fields.
The previous record, created two years ago, stood at six. This is Ron Cephas Jones’ second win as guest actor in a drama in 2018 for his role on “This Is Us”. Rudolph also won a second Emmy this week for outstanding voiceover performance for her work on Netflix’s animated series “Big Mouth”.
Two more Black actors, Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones of Quibi’s “#FreeRayshawn”, also earned both short-form acting awards, and RuPaul won his fifth straight Emmy for best reality host.