The Emmys made history earlier this year with its vast array of diverse nominations, but proceeded to shut them out of the winning circle during Sunday’s telecast. The move to award Emmys only to white talent led to the creation of the hashtag #EmmysSoWhite.
#EmmysSoWhite, a take on the popular hashtag #OscarsSoWhite started by April Reign, features fans ire at the Emmys voting body proceeding to overlook non-white and queer talent. For instance, Mj Rodriguez was poised to become the first trans winner in a lead acting category for her performance in Pose, and Michael K. Williams was expected to win for his performance in Lovecraft Country, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Hollywood Reporter notes other firsts that could have come from the nominations, such as Rosie Perez possibly becoming the first woman of color to win in the supporting actress category for The Flight Attendant, and either Pose‘s Billy Porter or This Is Us‘ Sterling K. Brown becoming the first Black actor since Bill Cosby to win in the leading drama category back-to-back. Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang could have become the first Chinese-American to win for supporting actor in a comedic role. Also in the same category, Hacks star Carl Clemons-Hopkins could have become the first non-binary performer to win the accolade. Variety also noted that the Emmys also neglected to award Black women television directors.
The non-white performers who did win Sunday night included RuPaul for RuPaul’s Drag Race, making history in the process as the winningest person of color in Emmys history, and Last Week Tonight writers Ali Barthwell, Greg Iwinski and Mark Kramer. Michaela Coel also made history for her win for I May Destroy You, becoming the first Black woman to win in the writing category for a limited series. Producers of color behind Drag Race, Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020, Hamilton, and Last Week Tonight also won Sunday night.
Fans unleashed their frustration on social media, with Los Angeles Times entertainment and arts reporter Ashley Lee tweeting, “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.”
the Emmys is like that tv show you’re still watching *just in case* it finally does something different— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) September 20, 2021
but every year it proves you wrong and does its same old thing again. and again. and again. #EmmysSoWhite
@DOPECHICKBEATS, an Emmy-wining producer and audio engineer, also tweeted, “Black host, Black announcer hell even Black music. We doing everything but win.”
Other tweets from watchers echoed sentiments of aggravation and disgust.
Black host, Black entertainment skits, Black announcer, Black commercials, Black musical breaks, speeches about inclusion.— Dana (Store Name) #AmplyBlackVoices Im @ The #TCA (@sagesurge) September 20, 2021
All Black everything but winners.#Emmys #Emmys2021 #EmmyAwards #EmmysSoWhite pic.twitter.com/8Ih5ZngXhp
No response from the Emmys voters or producers has been made at this time.