The Emmys hit a major milestone on Saturday, September 8, at the Creative Arts Awards ceremony, which typically precedes the televised ceremony several days later. For the first time in the award's history, black actors swept all four guest acting categories, signaling unprecedented steps toward inclusion and quality writing for black characters.
The four awards for guest appearances went to Tiffany Haddish (Saturday Night Live), Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us), Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale), and Katt Williams (Atlanta).
I saw “black actors sweep” and got nervous... 🤣 But it’s good news! Congratulations to Tiffany, Katt, Ron and Samir… https://t.co/LJwtyfoDEf— Robin Thede (@Robin Thede)1536498415.0
The closest the Emmys have come to similar levels of diverse representation were in 2003 and 2014, when two of the four awards went to people of color.
@CNN About damn time!— AlliciaMJennings (@AlliciaMJennings)1536532830.0
Hype has been building towards the possibility of a sweep since nominees were announced in July. An unprecedented 11 of the 20 nominees were black actors and actresses, inspiring excitement from the Hollywood community.
@ccrcasting And John Legend won for JCS! He's the first black man to become an EGOT and the youngest! #wild #goals— Brie Eley (@Brie Eley)1536558353.0
Many, such as Deadline, believe these victories reflected "a concerted effort on part of networks, writers and producers to embrace more diverse storytelling and put on series featuring complex black characters."
@ccrcasting Looooove this— Victor Chi (@Victor Chi)1536505354.0
Cephas Jones commented on the likelihood of a TV character like his (William on This is Us) existing years ago:
It would have been difficult. We are moving forward and moving ahead.
@robinthede Well deserved for all of them!— Cecilia Loos (@Cecilia Loos)1536509691.0
Many are hoping the Emmys continue their inclusive trend during the televised ceremony on September 17, where Donald Glover (Atlanta) and Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) are both nominated for leading actor. Killing Eve's Sandra Oh is nominated to become the first Asian woman to take home a leading actress Emmy, and Black-ish's Tracee Ellis Ross could be nabbing the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series.
The Emmys will air on September 17 on NBC with hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost!