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Black Girls Rock! the #Emmys

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The Emmys aired last night and I enjoyed them. I felt Andy Samberg hit more than he missed and kept the show going. It was enjoyable and even fun at times. They had the right mix of the right categories for awards and didn’t let too many people drone on (and on). This year, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated the most diverse people for awards. We had the most black people nominated for awards ever. It was refreshing and I hope it continues and isn’t a bone thrown to us because we complained a lot this awards season about a lack of diversity in Hollywood in social media (#OscarsSoWhite) and in the press.

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From 227 to this moment. Awesome. (Not that 227 couldn’t have won her an Emmy, because Jackee Harry won one for playing Sandra Clark on that show.)

Regina King won for her role in American Crime. Everyone seemed shocked, including her, but happily so. Happiest of all was Taraji P. Henson, who is so Washington, DC, and so black that I want to hang out with her and eat fried chicken wings, my macaroni and cheese, greens, and sip gin-or-vodka cocktails, and talk about life. Taraji was the happiest woman there all night. Uzo Aduba won for Orange is the New Black (OITNB) in her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. I feel that she 100% deserved the Emmy for the second season of OITNB. She killed the role. I was happy for her like I know her personally. (I don’t yet. 🙂 )

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The Ed Asner of the Emmys.

But the big win of the night (aside from Jon Hamm’s, er…um, “display” and Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello eating popcorn shamelessly on camera), Lead Actress in a Drama, went to Viola Davis for her first television role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder. Viola, her natural hair twisted up gloriously, walked confidently to the mic, took a breath to settle her nerves, and spoke beautifully starting out with a Harriet Tubman quote about white women welcoming her into a vast field with arms outstretched, but she couldn’t seem to cross a line to get there. Viola went on to explain that you can’t win an Emmy for a role that’s not there. She went on to thank black actresses who came before her in roles that were made available to them.

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She said that opportunity is the key to get more women of color recognition and work in Hollywood. It was an incredibly powerful, yet brief, speech that shined a huge spotlight on Hollywood’s glaring diversity problem but made it focus on those who greenlight projects and give opportunities to women of color in the first place.

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ARE YOU LISTENING, MATT DAMON?!

Then along comes Nancy Lee Grahn, Alexis on General Hospital, saying that Viola should have made her speech about all women, period, not just women of color. She said that Viola hasn’t faced discrimination, ever, and isn’t the right person to speak about issues affecting minorities as she’s privileged, has made millions off her roles, and should focus on a bigger picture of things that impact all women.

GENERAL HOSPITAL - ABC's "General Hospital" stars Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Davis. (ABC/CRAIG SJODIN)
Credit: ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

I just…wow. I need something funny now to cheer me up. Oh, hello, Sofia. (Look behind Jon Hamm.)

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Thankfully, Twitter (Black and White this time) snatched Nancy’s edges so bad that she might need an actual General Hospital to tender proper care to her scalp. Nancy then bristled at people calling her racist for trying to tone police a black woman and said “I would have marched with them back then. I feel so alienated right now,” like marching for equal rights is conditional on the oppressed people making you feel like a heroine or feel good about yourself. Girl, bye.

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Taraji being happy for her sisters! Love this!

Anyway, I’m going to focus on what Viola said. It was an awesome night for black women at the show and on the program to include Ava DuVernay’s (the black director of Selma) Apple Music commercial with Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson. Ava said she directed three, so there are more coming!

Congratulations, black girls. You rock. It’s your time now and I know when to shut the **** up when it’s your time. Cheers!

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