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Still Rooting for Everybody Black: 74th Emmy Awards

This year’s Emmy Awards gave me goosebumps and brought real tears to my eyes. I always enjoy celebrating the best of TV on Emmy night but this year’s Emmy’s ad a sprinkle of something special in the air and that was the black girl magic that radiated through the room, off the screen, into our homes, and all through our timelines. Gahhh it was a beautiful thing to watch.

Let’s get into it. [In order of appearance]

Sam Jay

2022 Emmy Awards Announcer

Ever since Sam Jay stepped in front of the camera she has been knocking down doors with her charming smile and unapologetic comedy. Sam Jay’s comedy special 3 In the Morning was a master class in storytelling. Sam isn’t trying to be anyone else but exactly who she is — a Black, gay, female comedian who is curious as much as she is opinionated. She isn’t afraid to look at the line and push it as far as the networks will let her go. Her HBO show, Pause, with Sam Jay is a prime example of this. Sam Jay has the tension of a Dave Chappelle with the charming charisma of a Kevin Hart. She is friendly and approachable, but she is truly comfortable in the most uncomfortable conversations. She is a voice you would think mainstream TV would shy away from but with her work on major platforms like SNL, Comedy Central, Netflix, HBO, and now NBC it’s clear she is laying a new blueprint for being unapologetically yourself in everything you do.


Queen of all Thrones

Oprah showed up hair laid and with the braid to deliver a message of dreams and resilience. Like the fairy godmother she is, she set the stage to celebrate the remarkable breakthrough talent in the room. And sure she was talking to the whole room, but when Oprah talks Black Women’s ears perk up differently and what was to come after her opening had us all sitting at attention and on the edge of our seats.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Emmy Winner for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Abbott Elementary

Mrs. Ralph. Lawd Mrs. Sheryl Lee Ralph. I get emotional just thinking about her acceptance speech. Sheryl brought the roof down with her speech. She soaked in every second of her moment and we are all better for it. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s speech touched hearts and snatched souls. She showed up not to simply accept her award and her well-deserved praise, but to take this moment to inspire and plant seeds in anyone and everyone under the sound of her voice. Every creative and creator knows the feeling of fighting doubt. Whether that comes from rejection, feeling stuck, lack of support, time, age, the media, and more. There are so many factors that can get in the way of pursuing your dreams, but what I heard Mrs. Ralph tell us that night was to stay the course. It’s the unrelenting persistence that will bear fruit. You may not know when, how, or where, but sticking to your dreams and consistency walking in your purpose and the moment will come. Stay the course.

At the point in the speech where she said, “When you have a Quinta Brunson in your corner” I got, and still get, chills. Because this is a moment of Black women looking out for Black women in an industry that has a storied history of not embracing us and our stories. From Issa Rae’s Insecure to Robin Thede’s The Black Lady Sketch Show where Quinta left after season one to create the instant hit Abbott Elementry, which lead to Sheryl Lee Ralph winning an Emmy at 65 years of age, the domino effect is truly beautiful to watch. When one of us wins, we all win, and these ladies (plus many more) are putting that into action and it’s undeniable.


Emmy Winner for Competition Program: Watch Out for the Big Girls

Lizzo is very clear that she is here to break down barriers and pave the way. Lizzo set out to be her own hero and have fun while doing it. Everything Lizzo does looks like it truly brings her joy. She doesn’t need anybody else’s approval because her purpose is clear. So for her to walk away with 3 Emmys this year is not the validation that she needs as much as it is validation that the industry needs to invest in more Lizzos, more Quintas, more Sheryls, more Zendayas, more Issas, more Sam Jays, more Robin Thedes, more… you get it.

Lizzo’s speech captured the heart of representation. When we don’t see ourselves represented, we can’t get discouraged or feel like this industry, job, genre, whatever it is, isn’t for us but better yet it’s a calling to be the representation. To love yourself so unapologetically that you bring your full self to every table and every room that you enter. Then you create space for other young Black girls to be inspired to do the same. Lay your blueprint.

Quinta Brunson

Emmy Winner for Writing in a Comedy Series: Abbott Elementary Pilot

Sheryl brought me to tears, Lizzo brought me pure joy and Quinta… Quinta was a win for the culture. I believe we as the Black woman internets have long cherished, loved, and protected Quinta since her viral “He Got Money” video. And now our girl went from, “A laaaaarge” to an Emmyyyy!!! Often times we try to downplay awards shows, but being recognized for being the very best at what you do can never be downplayed. For someone like a Quinta, or an Issa, who unlike generations before them we not only got to watch their rise but we felt like we were along for the come-up. Their fans have truly been invested in their success for years, so their win feels like our win.


Emmy Winner for Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Euphoria

Zendaya is our sweetheart with range baby. Zendaya has truly blossomed from Disney Channel into one of theee most inspiring, dynamic, and captivating actresses of our time. Zendaya has become a chameleon she morphs into whatever character she takes on and the way she has embodied Rue is unmatched. Season 2, Episode 5: Stand Still Like the Hummingbird is a moment in TV history. I will never forget starting this episode and having to rewind it less than ten minutes in because I was so blown away by Zendaya’s performance. We were thrown into a literal rat race and you had no choice but to buckle up and pray Rue didn’t kill herself. Zendaya’s performance made sure we as the viewers would feel every twist and turn of that wild ride. I look forward to watching Zendaya Serena Williams this acting thing and become of the greatest actresses of all time.

It wasn’t just about seeing these phenomenal Black women winning, it was also the beauty of seeing the diversity of their stories and their representation that made the night truly especially special. It felt like we could truly see the doors opening and the gates being knocked down for Black women storytellers. It felt like we could see Black women pulling each other up, making way for one another, and most importantly celebrating each other. My Black woman creative, writer bones are still tingling and I am energized to keep doing the work in support of my own dreams and aspirations.

What a night.

Honorable Mention

Jerrod Carmichael

Emmy Winner for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special:

Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel

I hate to intrude on this Black woman space, but I have to show love and give props to my fave Jerrod Carmichael for winning his first Emmy. Jerrod gave us a very vulnerable and non-traditional comedy special that was so necessary for the Black community. Jerrod’s body of work has always inspired me because he not only tells his truth in his work but he tells his family’s truth.

His work (The Carmichael Show, Home Videos, Sermon on the Mount) puts a mirror up to the Black family to not shy away from the hard truths but embrace them with genuine curiosity and understanding. It’s funny cuz it’s true, and sometimes painfully true.

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