Emmys Month: Black at the Emmys (Infographic)

I created this infographic to show some stats I’ve discovered as I researched Black actors at the Emmy awards. I focused on the acting, directing, and writing categories and found some interesting things. In addition to the facts on the graphic, below are some other facts I couldn’t fit on there.

Black at the Emmys

Black at the Emmys (Acting, Writing, Directing)

  • The category with the most wins? Best Writing in a Variety Show (8) (Though, those are split between just 3 people: Wyatt Cenac with 4 from the Daily Show and Chris Rock with 4. Wanda Sykes has two co-won with Chris.), followed by Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama (8) and Lead Actor in a Drama (5).
  • I think Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes are the only black duo to win.
  • Best Lead Actor in a Drama has 5 wins but there hasn’t been a winner since 1998 and no one has even been nominated since 2001 (Andre Braugher was the last in both wins and noms for the category).
  • There wasn’t a single nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy in the 90s. Not one. (Weren’t the 90s the heyday of black sitcoms?)
  • Phylicia Rashad is the last actress to be nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy, back in 1986. Did the Emmy voting committee really not see Tracee Ellis Ross in blackish this year? Or any of the other black actresses in the last 30 years? The last person to win in that category was Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) back in 1981.
  • Viola Davis in 2015 became the first black woman to win Best Lead Actress in a Drama.
  • There hasn’t been a black winner of Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy since Robert Guillaume won for Soap in 1979.
  • No black male has won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama and there are no nominees this year (2015).
  • No black actress has won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy since 1987, when Jackee Harry won for 227.
  • In acting, there are 255 nominations to date, with 41 total wins.
  • No black actress has won for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama since 1993 (Mary Alice, I’ll Fly Away).
  • I’m waiting for Chandra Wilson or Debbie’s Allen to be nominated for best director on Grey’s Anatomy. One day. So far, only three women have ever been nominated (Debbie Allen back in 1989 among them). None have won.
  • Shonda Rhimes, Dee Rees and Wanda Sykes are the only black women nominated for Best Writing in any category.
  • Larry Wilmore is the only black writer to be nominated for Best Writing in a Comedy. He won the year he was nominated in 2002 for The Bernie Mac Show.

For another great infographic of Emmys diversity wins and fails, check Lee and Low’s Diversity Gap graphic.

Any other notable Black at the Emmys facts that I’ve missed? Comment, tweet or contact me!

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Gina Prince-Bythewood on Beyond the Lights and her start in television (I get a covert shout out!)

BTL1Shannon M Houston, writer for Paste Magazine, got to interview Love & Basketball writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood about her latest movie Beyond the Lights. Before the interview, she asked me on Twitter what I would ask Gina. I knew that she wrote for A Different World at the beginning of her career, so I wanted to know if she’d ever return to television. Shannon asked the question and I got a covert shout out and a response! Here’s the quote:

Paste: Your name came up the other night while I was tweeting with Black Girl Nerds during a podcast. One of the co-hosts is a big fan of yours, and she suggested I ask you about transitioning from TV to film, and whether or not you’d consider a return to TV.
Prince-Bythewood: TV was such a great training ground for me. I was very fortunate to have gone right from film school to A Different World. Going to work every day with three black women running the show made it normal for me. Later, I worked with J.J. Abrams, which was amazing. I learned a lot from him. I love TV!My So-Called Life was one of my favorite shows growing up. I love writing it, because I loved watching it. But ultimately, I knew I wanted to get into directing. I wanted that big canvas, so I left after five years.

I will do TV again eventually. I’m actually writing a pilot now, but I’d never attach myself to a show that’s expected to do 22 episodes over five years. I just couldn’t do that. But with TV now, it’s great because you can create shorter seasons, or you can be on the peripheral.Her response makes a lot of sense–she used TV to propel her career into the direction she wanted, but still loves the genre. I wonder what her pilot is about (and how I can write for whatever show it is!) and if we’ll see it on television someday. Something Gina says later in the interview also really resonated with me because it’s something that’s also important to me:

GPB1Prince-Bythewood: When we allow Hollywood to have “black film” as a genre it limits us. They do one film a year with a black cast, and that’s their black film. I want us in every genre—sci-fi, romance, period pieces—that is really my fight.

This is what I want as well. I want black films and TV shows to be seen as more than just the “urban” film/show of the year. Gina mentions that Scandal isn’t a black show–and neither is How to Get Away with Murder–but they have black leads and that often makes people want to dump them into an “urban” category, but that’s not what they are. They are TV shows, political and law shows (however loosely they accurately portray real life haha), with black leads. They don’t have to be shoved into a box that only black people are allowed to unlock. We need more television and film with black stars and we need them in all genres. The Marvel Black Panther film isn’t out until 2017 and Will Smith’s next movie is a con movie (as fun as those are), so when will I get to see a black person leading a science-fiction movie? Or a fantasy film? I need studios to get rid of the idea that making a “black” film or show doesn’t intersect with making a romance or sci-fi/fantasy or period piece. They aren’t mutually exclusive ideas and can still appeal to wide audiences (read: white audiences too) .

I loved this article, love that Gina answered my question, and love that she and I have similar ideas on widening the genres black stars are allowed to lead in. I hope her pilot gets made, but in the meantime, I just hope that she has more films on the way, because I really enjoyed Beyond the Lights and we need more films like it.

For the rest of the article, go here: Gina Prince-Bythewood On Beyond the Lights, and Dismantling the “Black Film” Genre (Paste Magazine).

My First Podcast with Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton

I joined my first ever podcast this past Sunday with Jamie from Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton, a TV director and graphic novel author. Since Seaton is a TV director, we talked a bit about that as well as his graphic novel series Legend of the Mantamaji, which stars a black superhero.

I was super nervous, but I’d met Seaton briefly at NYCC, where he successfully sold me the advanced three-pack of his graphic novel, and had prepared questions in advance. Seaton worked on a lot of great shows like Living Single, Smart Guy, and That’s So Raven. He currently directs for quite a few Disney Channel original shows, including Austin and Ally, and has done a few “grown up” TV shows as well. It was great to speak to a black director, as that’s just another arena where people of color are underrepresented. He was super easy to talk to and very forthcoming about his experiences in both television and publishing. I really enjoyed myself, learned a bit about television, and did something new (hard for introverts like myself to do).

Click through if you want to listen; I’ll be doing some more next year!

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: Eric Dean Seaton of The Legend of the Mantamaji – Black Girl Nerds.

Link: 2014 is the Year Black Women Take Over Hollywood | Clutch Magazine

“What I love about this list is that it is made up of black women who are content creators. It’s wonderful to have talented actresses in front of the camera, but what we desperately need is more black women behind the camera, shaping the portrayals we see on-screen.  Often times we complain that black folks only get awards for playing slaves, maids and prostitutes/pimps. We can change that! The way we change that is to have equally diverse and talented people back-stage as on-stage.”

This is exactly it. Hopefully if we can get more (black, asian, hispanic, all WoC) female content producers, we’ll be able to see more PoC on our screens!

Click through to read more: 2014 is the Year Black Women Take Over Hollywood | Clutch Magazine

Related:

Blackout: Hollywood

The most offensive statement I’ve heard people make is, ‘If 12 Years hadn’t been released in 2013, The Butlerand Fruitvale would have had a better chance.’ Is there only room for one?” – Scott Feinberg

Oscars’ Insult to Black Movies: There’s Room for Just One (Analysis)

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ConStar Watches Scandal “Vermont is for Lovers, Too”

As always, where do I begin?

Let’s first begin with the greatness that is a primetime show with a black female lead, a black female showrunner, and a black female director (Ava DuVernary) of an episode. When has THAT ever happened? On TV ever? (The episode was not written by a black female, however, I think our brains would’ve exploded). Such a rarity to see those things together; hopefully we get to see more of it across all media.

Now, on to the episode. While last week’s episode gave us lots of backstory, this episode is setting us up for next episode’s Winter Finale (we’re not readdyyyy!). However, I think this was my least favorite—and the weakest—episode of the season. Many moments were kind of forced (really Liv? You still think he murdered your mother— sorry, we’ll get that later) or fell flat (the Josie storyline is just gonna end like that? Whomp whom). But there were some nuggets of character for the Parental Popes that I am enjoying trying to figure out.

We didn’t learn as much about Mama Pope as I think we were hoping, in terms of the actions that got her in prison, but I think we learned a lot about her personality wise. She is fierce and bold, a little nuts (you nearly threw up in your mouth when she chewed her own wrists, didn’t you), but that move made her ingenious. She goes after what she wants and does whatever it takes to get there. But what does that mean about her past? Did she use these same traits to hurt people? To pass secrets? To take action to blow up a plane? Later, I’ll ask you guys to give me your favorite Mama Pope theories (I’d like to do another blog post on those); for now, we’ve just been given her character traits–which we’ve seen have passed on to Olivia. (As well as a love of popcorn.)

Turning to her relationship with Eli/Rowan, I can’t tell where they’re at right now. His entrance into her cell didn’t seem like a surprise. He cradles her wrists in the hospital and hands her water. He brings her pictures of Olivia, touches her shoulder, laughs with her. She laughs back. They don’t seem to hate each other. She told him to take care of Olivia. Have they seen each other in the last 20 something years? Has he done anything to help her? Can he? They don’t seem to have ever talked about Olivia in all these years, but they don’t act like it’s been 20 years and a conspiracy driving them apart. I don’t get it. What could the circumstances of Operation Remington be that they’re almost cordial with each other until he denies her what we might call “visitation rights.” Then he’s Command and the leader of B6-13, angry that a prisoner escaped. We’re they operatives together? Was she on our side but then turned traitor? I need answers and I need them now.

Things I Didn’t Like (Shocker, I know)

Harrison and Candace. I called their UST from the moment they met each other in the episode, but I’m upset because it’s (so far) served no purpose. He didn’t get a storyline in the episode about it, the two don’t even seem to be sticking around for the next episode (there is clearly no room for them in the winter finale) so he and Candy probably won’t continue to see each other, and it didn’t help either him or Candy in the episode. So what was the point? To pretend to give Harrison some (literal) love? How is this helping Cyrus’ proposed blackmail to bring that guy back into the country? Did that even happen? Have we forgotten about that in honor of non Harrison story lines? Even Abbie and David’s storyline has had more forward movement than anything Harrison is given. It was disappointing. As was the Marcus storyline as a whole. I was hoping Lisa Kudrow would go out with a bang; her presidential candidacy barely last a month? Liv is free to go back to the Grants?

But that’s the easy choice; what will Shonda do to unravel Olivia and Fitz? She certainly fused them back together for a moment that might have had fans cheering a few episodes ago, but now felt extremely forced. I’ve mentioned before I’ve faltered between Team Jake and Team Fitz, but Olivia thinks he KILLED HER MOTHER. At the very least, he killed hundreds of people (under orders he’ll keep saying) and never told her about it. Then he has the nerve to be upset that she didn’t tell him about her father (who—as far as Fitz knows—could have a similar “don’t tell anyone I am your father for national security reasons” hold over her). His upset about that really made me angry (also, leave the girl be for ONE MOMENT, instead of using your power and emotional manipulation to get her to do what you want. -____-) so I was disappointed that she thought that a house (that he has to keep secret because he is STILL MARRIED) was enough to forget all of that for one night. And I get it, he’s her weakness. She forgets herself and her morals when she’s around him, but where will her self control come in? I hope Mama Pope will smack some sense into her daughter and cause another rift (final? because what else could drive Liv and Fitz apart once and for all?) between Olitz. I think I am officially over Team Fitz.

Also the end. We knew Olivia and Maya would meet again, but it felt a little flat to end it on their first meeting. I might have preferred if Liv had actually passed out (she certainly looked like she would. and maybe they’ll begin next episode with such a move). but it was kind of anticlimactic because we’ve met her mom, we knew where she was going and that they’d meet eventually. If mom had been doing something else (killing someone, breaking into Liv’s apartment, something), maybe it would’ve have been a good ending, but since it was expected, and came after the HUCK KNOWS moment, it fell a little flat for me.

But part of this is being the set up for the winter finale, it’s putting as many pieces in place as it can to set those explosive events in motion. I just wish the moments hit stronger in this one; because now I have to wait two weeks for the next episode and I was underwhelmed by this one. =/

Other thoughts

Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. She was so sad and had such a change of heart about the Honey Trap when she learned Fitz and Liv were off somewhere together. But what can she do next? She’s already threatened divorce, outed his affair on national television, he’s already been shot at—what’s left for Mellie? After all that she’s sacrificed and she still will only get to be the First Lady for another term—she hates being First Lady.

Will Shonda write in an Olivia pregnancy from the Vermont scene? I think she could ave written it in by now, but maybe the timing wasn’t right when Kerry told her about it? If it had been written in before, the obvious plot would’ve been the question of whether it was Jake’s or Fitz’. If done now, it would most certainly be Fitz’. And where would that leave us? I was hoping they wouldn’t write it in at all, but now it’s certainly possible; hiding Kerry in those black and white pants suits, giant coats and behind lamps will only work for so long, I suppose. And in order to keep the scheduling promise they gave us, these run of episodes, then the next set after winter break with no reruns, Kerry will have to keep working through the baby bump, until probably mid/late spring when she’s likely due. So it’s highly likely they just wrote in the pregnancy and when we get back, Liv will be having the president’s baby. Guess it’s good she told him to keep the house, huh? I wonder what that might mean for the Grant kids, of which I am not sure any of them are his. Can he only reproduce with Olivia? Mellie might snap on that information.

Finally, what are your Mama Pope theories? She and Rowan were my favorite parts to this episode, figuring out what their current relationship is and what events in the past determined it is really fun. The one thing I truly believe they agree on is that they love their daughter. It looked like they loved each other too. So what happened to destroy it all? Let me know your theories!

Is this the summer of African-American Cinema?

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/07/26/sot-san-diego-mayor-statement.kfmb.html

CNN discusses the films written, produced, and directed by African-Americans this summer. Includes “Fruitvale Station” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”