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Issa Rae, Regina King, and More Black Actors Receive Historically High Number of Emmy Award Nominations

In 2017, during a red carpet interview at the Emmy Awards, Issa Rae infamously told reporters that she was “rooting for everybody Black.” Three years later it seems as though her efforts might’ve worked.  

On Tuesday morning, July 27, the 72nd annual prime-time Emmy nominations were revealed, showing a considerably large number of Black submissions, according to Variety. The outlet reported that 34.3 percent of the acting nominees for this year’s Emmy Awards were Black, with a total of 102 acting candidates across the categories. 

Actress and producer Issa Rae receives several Emmy nominations for her HBO series “Insecure.” (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Michael Kors)

That list included the “Insecure” creator herself, with the comedy series collectively receiving a total of eight nominations. Actress Yvonne Orji, who plays Molly on the show, took to her Twitter account to celebrate the exciting news saying, “I know Molly stressed y’all THE heck OUT this season, but shout out to all of you for riding with @insecurehbo and for VOTING!!” the actress added, “We IN HERE! And it’s even sweeter when the WHOLE SQUAD THRIVIN TOO!! To @IssaRae on her Emmy nod, the entire show, AND @BlackLadySketch!”

Sterling K. Brown also received a nomination for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for ABC’s “This Is Us” as well as a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Black women dominated the category of outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie with Regina King and her role in HBO’s “Watchmen,” Octavia Spencer for “Self Made,” and Kerry Washington was nominated for her part in Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Washington showed her gratitude on Twitter writing, “To have @LittleFiresHulu, #AmericanSon, and #LiveInFrontOfAStudioAudience be recognized by the @TelevisionAcad, this morning is such an honor.” The star added, “Feeling so much love, and feeling so blessed XOXOXOXXOXOX.”

Actress Zendaya Coleman was recognized for her role as Rue Bennett in the HBO hit “Euphoria.” The 23-year-old received a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series, making this her first-ever Emmy nomination.

Meanwhile, newcomer Jeremy Pope was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for Netflix’s “Hollywood.” Pope starred as the fictional Black and openly gay screenwriter Archie Coleman in the Ryan Murphy creation.

“Thank you to the Television Academy, my entire ‘Hollywood’ family, and to Ryan Murphy for giving me my television debut,” the actor said in a statement. He added, “My heart is full. I’m proud to see so many Black artists nominated this year. It gives me hope that systemic change in our entertainment industry is not only possible, it’s imminent.”

Other Black actors nominated include Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and many more. According to Variety, this year’s historic list of nominees comes just one year after Black actors only made up 19.8 percent of the nominees in 2019.

The 72nd prime-time Emmy Awards ceremony is slated to air live on Sept. 20 on ABC. 

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