A special moment in Emmy history has been made as 11 Black actors and actresses, including Kerry Washington, star of hit ABC series “Scandal,” have earned nominations. This marks the most nominations for African-Americans across all Emmy categories since 1977.
It was just last year that Washington and actor Don Cheadle made their mark on Emmy history by earning Emmy nominations for their respective leading roles in Scandal and Showtime’s comedy-drama, House Of Lies.
Cheadle was the first Black man to earn a Emmy nomination for lead actor in a decade, while Washington marked the first time a Black actress earned a nomination in the category in nearly two decades.
This year, with 11 Black actors and actresses earning nominations, history has been made again.
The last time there were almost this many nominations for African-Americans was 40 years ago, when the miniseries Roots merited nine for its cast members.
Washington was ecstatic when she heard about the Emmy nomination and said it was one the first times she was speechless.
“I am rarely speechless but I feel kind of speechless this morning,” Washington said on Thursday. “It’s very surreal. I’m so excited about Joe Morton and Kate Burton.”
Joe Morton earned a nomination for best guest actor in a drama for his role in Scandal.
Washington doesn’t have any plans to celebrate the great achievement and told USA Today that she’ll probably be spending time at home.
Cheadle commented on the record-breaking numbers and said he is grateful for scripts that have allowed Black stars to finally get the recognition they deserve.
“It definitely reps a widening of the storytelling and more inclusive ideology of the shared stories and experience we all have,” Cheadle said.
He also reminded people, however, that this doesn’t mean everything has improved in Hollywood.
“It’s creeping toward something, but there’s still a lack of recognition for other nationalities,” he said. “It’s definitely better, but it’s not something you can pin too much on as a trend, since next year could be lower.”
The other Black stars who received nominations this year were:
• Andre Braugher – Supporting comedy actor in Brooklyn Nine-Nine
• Chiwetel Ejiofor – Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie in Dancing on the Edge
• Idris Elba – Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie in Luther
• Cicely Tyson – Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie in Trip to Bountiful
• Angela Bassett – Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie in American Horror Story: Coven
• Red. E Cathey – Best guest actor in House of Cards
• Uzo Aduba – Best guest actress in a comedy series in Orange is the New Black
• Laverne Cox – Best guest actress in a comedy series in Orange is the New Black