The 2017 Emmy Awards have come and gone. Stephen Colbert hosted the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Not surprisingly, Colbert and others got political. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer even made an appearance. Spicer’s bit is already being widely criticized, described as an attempt to normalize someone who repeatedly lied to the American public.
As always, the Emmy Awards really begin in the week before the big show, with the Creative Arts Emmys. Ava Duvernay picked up a trophy for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Special for her documentary 13th. The film documents a century of racial oppression in America and Duvernay took the opportunity in her speech to talk about the insidious state of incarceration. She spoke of her hope for “a system that doesn’t discriminate against people who live in marginalized communities.” The powerful song “Letter To The Free” by Common that was featured in 13th won for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Also at the Creative Arts Emmys, Dave Chappelle picked up the win for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance as host on SNL, and RuPaul Charles won Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In addition to those wins at the Creative Arts Emmys, there were also some pretty significant wins for African-American talent during the main awards show on last night. Lena Waithe became the first-ever black woman to win Writing for a Comedy Series. She received the honor along with Aziz Ansari for the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None. Donald Glover was honored with the Best Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy for his work on Atlanta. He thanked the usual people in his speech, including his family and the city of Atlanta. Then he took a turn and picked up some laughs by saying “I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s the reason I’m probably up here.” The uber-talented performer also won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series in addition to winning Best Actor. The directing win is an especially big deal since he’s the first African American to ever win that category.
Sterling K. Brown won Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Randall on NBC’s This is Us. It’s been almost 20 years since a black actor won in this category and Brown used part of his speech to pay tribute to Andre Braugher. Brown also gave a nod to Susan Kelechi Watson who plays his wife on the show, calling it a pleasure to “rep black love” with her. As was pretty universally expected, Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale each took home several trophies. SNL also had a great year at the Emmys with a win for Best Variety Sketch Series, plus Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy all won for their hilarious political impressions. As Glover joked, SNL may well have Trump to thank.
Congratulations to all the winners!