Last year, Viola Davis became the first African American actress to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series. In her speech, Davis eloquently explained why women of color have not won an award for lead actress until 2015. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
This year, opportunities for minorities and women have increased with a growth in TV scripted shows and Emmy nominations. With shows like “Black-ish” and “Master of None” leading the way, underrepresented groups are now being allowed to tell their stories unhindered. This is a big change as in the past, in order to create, run, and win an Emmy for a comedy TV show, you needed to partner with a white person (no lie, Kenya Barris became the first solo African-American series creator to be nominated for a comedy series, Bill Cosby won as co-creator of “The Cosby Show” with Ed. Weinberger and Michael Leeson in 1985).
In 2016, the growth of opportunities for diverse people is leading the charge, and it’s good to see people taking advantage. As we move forward, hopefully the entertainment world continues to see it’s value and expand on this to match its ever growing multicultural nation.