At first glance, this year’s ceremony had the potential to be a watershed moment for the Emmys. With a historically diverse class of 2021 nominees, the primetime TV awards show could have finally delivered on years of promising to spotlight the work of Black, Asian, and Latinx actors, writers, and directors. However, as we’ve learned from years of watching the awards pass on projects centering on people of color and their stories, the Emmys are never beyond fumbling the bag.
Depending on precisely when you tuned into last night’s show, it could have taken as long as 100 minutes to see RuPaul’s Drag Race receive the night’s first award for a black creator. And though the more heavily nominated shows and specials (Ted Lasso, The Crown, and Handmaid’s Tale) should have made it clear where the trophies would land on Sunday night, it was still wild to see shows with overwhelming critical and pedestrian praise (Lovecraft Country, Pose, and I May Destroy You,) go almost the entire night without taking home a statue.
Michaela Coel did eventually hit the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series on behalf of I May Destroy You, her excellent 2020 show for HBO. And not long after that, Disney+’s Hamilton walked away with the award for Outstanding Variety Special. But with (a record) 49 non-Anglo nominees at the 2021 Emmys, this year’s ceremony did little, if anything, to battle its own proclivity towards awarding white actors and stories.
And it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by viewers across social media, where the #EmmysSoWhite campaign was rightfully revived last night. You can read through some of the hardest-hitting reactions to last night’s snubs below.
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