According to Variety.com, all four winners in the guest actor categories were black for the first time in Television Academy Awards history.
Presented tonight at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony, Tiffany Haddish won best guest actress in a comedy for hosting “Saturday Night Live,”Samira Wiley won best guest actress in a drama for “The Handmaid’s Tale,”Ron Cephas Jones won best guest actor in a drama for “This Is Us,” and Katt Williams won best guest actor in a comedy for “Atlanta.”
Comedians Williams and Haddish won in their first year being nominated, while both Jones and Wiley had been nominated previously.
As Variety noted when this year’s Emmy nominees were announced, 36 actors of color were nominated this for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, up 20% from the year before, amid a larger push in the entertainment industry for diversity and inclusion in television, in front of and behind the camera.
At the 69th edition of the Emmy Awards, there was more diversity among nominees, and therefore winners, than there has been in previous years. Compelling actor Sterling K. Brown took home the hardware for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in NBC’s This Is Us. According to Entertainment Weekly, Brown is the first black actor to win the prize since Andre Braugher in 1998 for his role in Homicide: Life on the Street. During his backstage speech, Sterling reflectively acknowledged this achievement. “When I first got to [NYU] there was a poster of Gideon’s Crossing above the Public Theater, so I would see [Braugher’s] face all the time when I left my apartment to go to school,” he said, per The Ringer. “So, I’m bugging out. I never thought that this was a possibility, and to be standing here 19 years after him! I wanna represent.”
Another epic win went to Donald Glover, who became the first black director to garner the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. For his brilliant acting in Atlanta, the “Redbone” artist (as Childish Gambino) became the first black performer to join the legion of comedic outstanding lead actors. The achievements kept pouring in as actress/screenwriter Lena Waithe went down in history as the first black woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Master of None. She also won the hearts of the audience and viewers with her motivating acceptance speech to the LGBTQIA community.
Donald Glover and James Earl Jones are ready to sing “Hakuna Matata.” The “Atlanta” star is in talks to play Simba in Disney’s live-action “The Lion King” remake directed by Jon Favreau, (“The Jungle Book,” “Iron Man”). Jones, who voiced Simba’s father Mufasa in the original, will return to reprise the role.
Favreau is directing with Jeff Nathanson writing. “Lion King” was originally released in 1994 and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, ultimately hauling $968.5 million at the global box office. The studio’s emphasis on live-action reboots follows the successes of “Maleficent” (2014) and “Cinderella” (2015), while “Beauty and the Beast” is already one of the most anticipated movies of the year.