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Writing for NNPA/Black Press USA Newswire, Nsenga  K. Burton,  Ph.D. discusses the continued marginalization of Black actors, producers and writers at the 2021 Emmy Awards.  Read an excerpt below:


If they love our rhythm and not our blues was an awards show, then the 2021 Emmys would fit the bill. To no surprise of media critics and audiences of color, the 2021 Emmys did what mainstream awards shows tend to do – trot out amazing Black talent and then fail to reward them.

Perhaps all of the talk about television being far ahead of film in terms of diverse programming went to the heads of the nominating committees and judges for the awards show? Maybe in the race to appear on trend, the academy publicly embraced diversity and inclusion while privately eschewing it?

Quite possibly the academy thought because they have awarded Regina King, Billy Porter, Viola Davis and RuPaul in recent years they were in the clear? Whatever they were thinking didn’t wash with many Black viewers and media critics at least according to social media.

Just how do you open an awards show hosted by Cedric the Entertainer – I repeat Cedric the Entertainer — with a play on the late, great Biz Markie’s classic rap ditty, “Just a Friend?” and then not show a Black winner for two hours? How exactly do you have Cedric, Billie Porter, L.L. Cool J, Renee Goldsberry, MJ Rodriguez and Rita Wilson rocking the mic and moving the historically stiff crowd, and then fail to reward any performers of color during the live broadcast with a few exceptions?

See the 2021 Emmys, which trotted out so many presenters of color that it vaguely resembled the NAACP Image Awards, except there were no Black winners other than RuPaul, Micaela Coel and an overdue Governor’s award for the incomparable Debbie Allen.

Presenters of color included Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, Taraji Henson, Billie Porter, Awkwafina, MJ Rodriguez, Mindy Kaling, Anthony Andersen, Misty Copeland, Ava DuVernay, Gayle King, LL Cool J, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Ken Jeong, Vanessa Lachey, Bowen Yang, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs and Wilmer Valderamma.

There were enough Black presenters to Cha-Cha slide at the family reunion but very few winners in the bunch. This year’s list of Emmy winners looked more like a photo of the U.S. Congress instead of reflecting the outstanding diverse programing that covered small screens. To say Black talent, stories and executives were erased by the 2021 Emmys, would be an understatement. See HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.”

To be fair, television programming has gotten increasingly plentiful and quite frankly better in recent years and there are so many shows to consider between the traditional networks, cable and over-the-top companies (Netflix, Hulu, Apple+)…


Read the entire article at Black Press USA.

This excerpt was written and curated by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire for . Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 
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