The Emmy’s Awards (Primetime Emmy) recognizes and celebrates greatness in the world of Primetime Television. It is the “Academy Awards” of television. Recognizable shows such as “The Cosby Show”, “I Love Lucy”, “Everybody Hates Chris”, and “Seinfeld” have all won Emmy’s. Set to be aired on September 20th, this year’s Emmy’s has already broken a record with the most African American nominations ever: 18. The nominations span across all acting categories, eclipsing last year’s record of 11 nominations of African Americans – a record high at the time.
This year’s Emmy’s also marks the first time in which two African Americans are nominated for Best Actress, Drama category. Taraji P Henson is nominated for Empire and Viola Davis is nominated for How To Get Away With Murder. Viola Davis, who has been nominated for two Oscars, explains her satisfaction with the nominations. “This is absolutely a great sign. It’s the fact that television has expanded. There are different networks, therefore there are different narratives. They have to be inclusive of sheer numbers. I just feel it’s our time. We have a black president, a black first lady. Looking at the global world in a homogenized way doesn’t work anymore. We now include the gay community, transgender, black and Asian. We look at the world differently now. When I was young, it was The Brady Bunch and Sanford and Son. If you were Hispanic you liked Disco. I you were white you liked Rock n’. Roll. The world doesn’t work that way anymore. It’s a case of art imitating life.”
The other sixteen African American actor nominees are: David Oyelowo for Nightingale, Queen Latifah for Bessie, Andre Braugher for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, Don Cheadle for House of Lies, Uzo Aduba for Orange Is The New Black, Reg. E. Cathey for House of Cards, Cicely Tyson for How To Get Away With Murder, Khandi Alexander for Scandal, Keegan-Michael Kay for Key & Peele, Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Niecy Nash for Getting On, Michael Kenneth Williams for Bessie, Regina King for American Crime, Angela Bassett for American Horror Story: Freak Show, and Mo’Nique for Bessie. Although she noitices progression in recognizing African American greatness in the world of prime time cable, Mo’Nique is still unsatisfied with the number of nominations. “This trend [at the Emmys] makes sense, it’s going toward a great direction. But still, we have to say 18 nominations and it’s 2015? How long have the Emmys been going on? I’ll be glad when it’s 25 or 50 if it’s fair and it just makes sense.”
But one thing is certain: African Americans are making a significant impact on television. But Shonda Rhimes, who is the executive producer for the nominated show How to Get Away With Murder, plans on doing more than “making a significant impact”. She plans on, “taking over the world through television.” With prevalent shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice, and How To Get Away With Murder under her belt, she is certainly all over television.