HELLO AMERICA!—When I first turned on the tube to watch the Primetime Emmy Awards I had no great expectation of discovering anything really compelling or simply surprising. On the red carpet the same old wannabes showed up, guys who looked as if they hungered to be recognized and overdressed women who could barely walk because of the dragging train attached to their overpriced gowns.
You found yourself thinking “why did these people show up, or better yet, what could they be nominated for?” The opening of the show was very entertaining because of the naturalness and the genuine talented Andy Samberg whose showman ability easily equaled that of Billy Crystal who always made the Oscars worth sitting through.
Further, it appeared that the Television Academy decided to finally give birth to more diversity this go-round. It was well received when announced that Jeffrey Tambor would be honored for his performance as a transgender in the series ‘Transparent.” The applause became even more intense when Jon Hamm, after being nominated 16 times in different categories, received an honor for his outstanding work as Don Draper in the AMC hit “Mad Men.”
The real surprise of the evening rested on veteran actress Viola Davis, who received an award in the “lead” actress category of her ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder” which became an historical moment in the television industry. Her acceptance speech was truly one which touched the hearts and minds of every sensitive person seated in the Microsoft Theater.
The actress stressed that there were many very talented women of color who might easily be recognized as she is if only industry writers would create the roles for them. The basic reality of the situation was and still is “opportunity.” Davis winning, as well as her acceptance speech, made the evening worthwhile.
Other women of color who were honored included Regina King winning in the Supporting Actress Category in a Limited Series or TV Movie for “American Crime,” Uzo Aduba for Supporting Actress for her work on “Orange is the New Black.” All exceptional talents who had long paid their dues in the entertainment industry on different performing levels.
Their genuine surprise and gratitude was felt by all those who experienced or was seriously affected by the journey in being recognized as part of the artistic community. Yes, it was a special moment!
At the close of the awards festivities, it actually felt good. I wondered what my friend from the noted William Morris Agency who had told me a few years before that something like the 2015 Emmys or Oscars would never happen when it came to actors of color.
“People won’t buy it,” he insisted. “One or two here and their but on a regular basis, films and TV shows highlighting people of color aren’t marketable.” Of course, the Oscars has proved him wrong and now the Emmys are following suit.
Then too, my pontificating agency friend had grown up in the deep south and much of his thinking stemmed from that stymied, programmed way of thinking. And I suddenly felt quite sorry for him and thought, “What a very lame way of existing as a human being; refusing to acknowledge the actual existence of another human because of one’s color.