LOS ANGELES: Leslie Jones, Laverne Cox, Josh Gad and Tatiana Maslany teamed up to announce the nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards, which include a record 35 Black actors in the main categories.
While this number is low, it’s still a record. The 102 nominations in the top categories – including the best lead and supporting roles, best drama, best comedy, best miniseries and made-for-TV movie – feature 35 Black actors, which is a total of 34.3 percent.
The previous record in the history of the Academy was made at the 2018 Emmys, which counted Black actors as 27.7% of nominees. In 2019, this figure was only 19.8 percent.
Among the nominees this year are Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown, Zendaya, Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King, Jeremy Pope, Octavia Spencer, Kerry Washington, and Maya Rudolph, who was nominated twice.
It’s a significant increase for some of the most prestigious awards in American entertainment, which comes after months of fighting for better representation of the Black community in television and cinema following the Black Lives Matter movement.
“2020 isn’t just about the global health crisis. This year we are also bearing witness to one of the greatest fights for social justice in history, and it is our duty to use this medium for change.
“That is the power and responsibility of television – not only delivering a multitude of services or a little escapism, but also amplifying the voices that must be heard and telling the stories that must be told.
“Because television, by its very nature, connects us all,” said Frank Scherma, chairman of the Television Academy.