Diversity Programming Stands Out at the 2017 Emmys
Last night's 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards marked another year where innovative storytelling and unique talent came out on top. But this year’s victories stood out a little more this time around. As many have noted since last night, the 2017 Emmy award winners have never been more diverse. Whether it was a lead actor or director from a minority group or a women-centric storyline that took the honors, there’s no doubt that this year’s Emmy-winning programs have made television richer and more vibrant than ever.
In honor of and in anticipation of the industry’s Diversity Week next week, we’d particularly like to highlight HBO’s performance at the Emmys. As the Walter Kaitz Foundation's Diversity Champion of the year, HBO brought home 29 accolades, the most of any network at the Emmys, and is living up to its reputation for diverse storytelling.
The Night Of's Riz Ahmed was named outstanding lead actor in a limited series, becoming the first man of Asian descent to win this award. Shows that center around female-led plotlines also stood out, with the network’s Big Little Lies taking wins in the following categories: outstanding limited series, direction of a limited series, lead and supporting actress, and supporting actor. And for its comedy Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the former President on the show, racked up two more Emmys, making her the record holder for the most Emmys won for a single performance in one role, and giving her a third win as a producer of the show.
A notable breakthrough for another network also came when Donald Glover was awarded the Emmy for outstanding directing in a comedy series for FX's Atlanta, making him the first African American to receive the honor. Glover also won the Emmy for best lead actor in a comedy series.
As we wrote earlier this month, networks have taken strides in recent years to recruit minority storytellers and actors, and to shine a light on women-led plots. And while we still have a ways to go to achieve gender parity and minority representation on television, it's worth noting when diverse talent make breakthroughs in the industry. It sets new expectations and sparks discussions worth having on how we can devote our efforts to creating programming that speak to the many cultures and perspectives that make up America's viewership.