Photo by Rich Fury via Getty Images.
White actors once again dominated the Emmys on Sunday night.
At first glance, this year’s ceremony had the potential to be a watershed moment for the Emmys. With a historically diverse class of 2021 nominees, the primetime TV awards show could have finally delivered on years of promising to spotlight the work of Black, Asian, and Latinx actors, writers, and directors. However, as we’ve learned from years of watching the awards pass on projects centering on people of color and their stories, the Emmys are never beyond fumbling the bag.
Depending on precisely when you tuned into last night’s show, it could have taken as long as 100 minutes to see RuPaul’s Drag Race receive the night’s first award for a black creator. And though the more heavily nominated shows and specials (Ted Lasso, The Crown, and Handmaid’s Tale) should have made it clear where the trophies would land on Sunday night, it was still wild to see shows with overwhelming critical and pedestrian praise (Lovecraft Country, Pose, and I May Destroy You,) go almost the entire night without taking home a statue.
Michaela Coel did eventually hit the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series on behalf of I May Destroy You, her excellent 2020 show for HBO. And not long after that, Disney+’s Hamilton walked away with the award for Outstanding Variety Special. But with (a record) 49 non-Anglo nominees at the 2021 Emmys, this year’s ceremony did little, if anything, to battle its own proclivity towards awarding white actors and stories.
And it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by viewers across social media, where the #EmmysSoWhite campaign was rightfully revived last night. You can read through some of the hardest-hitting reactions to last night’s snubs below.
Searching for non white winners at the Emmys pic.twitter.com/f8sSIfj7Xj
— Caroline Joyner (@carolinedjoyner) September 20, 2021
#Emmys do this every year: Nominate a diverse selection of our faves, only to give them to the same white actors and/or stories.
Middle-aged white folks in conflict or British period pieces will win over nuanced, multi-dimensional plots involving characters of color.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) September 20, 2021
the emmys, predictably, chose white comfort
— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) September 20, 2021
Such a diverse set of presenters giving awards to all the white people. #Emmys
— Benjamin Siemon (@BenjaminJS) September 20, 2021
the Emmys is like that tv show you’re still watching *just in case* it finally does something different
but every year it proves you wrong and does its same old thing again. and again. and again. #EmmysSoWhite
— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) September 20, 2021
So we’re back to — and always will be — #EmmysSoWhite.
— Preston Mitchum, he/him (@PrestonMitchum) September 20, 2021
— Brandi Brands (@BBrands26) September 20, 2021
its been 100 minutes of The Emmy awards in the year two thousand and twenty one a.d and no non white people have won an award pic.twitter.com/2SvdBePrRT
— Sis Thee Gimmick (@ucancallmesis) September 20, 2021
White people winning the majority of awards for writing stories about white people that have already been told, generation after generation…..while original stories of POCs are overlooked….is the most #EmmysSoWhite thing ever
— The Black Victim (@fondzilla) September 20, 2021
— hugh bearymore (@hughbearymore) September 20, 2021
— ~Alexandria~ “AstroPetty” (@DOPECHICKBEATS) September 20, 2021
I’ve never been this annoyed after an awards show. POC as decorative accessories, white people as winners. So much creativity this year looking forward, awards looking backward. What an embarrassment you are #Emmys. #EmmysSoWhite
— Ed Gedrich (@edgabged) September 20, 2021
Every chance they had to make history in a meaningful way, they passed on it. Just said, “Naw, son.”
Mmkay. Got it.
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 20, 2021
This year’s theme appears to have been “nominate BIPOC artists and buzzy shows like WandaVision and Bridgerton to make sure viewers tune in, but then make sure the winners are the same as always.” #EmmysSoWhite
— Jules (@juleswritesblog) September 20, 2021