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The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards featured a series of historic moments, most notably the wins for actresses Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba. Davis became the first Black woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, while Aduba won back-to-back awards for the same role but in separate categories.

Davis, who plays attorney and law professor Annalise Keating on Shonda Rhimes‘ ABC drama, How To Get Away With Murder, has been a vocal champion of diversity within the industry. She faced off against Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon on Lee Daniels’ Fox hit series, Empire. It was the first time two Black women were up for the same award in the category.

Aduba, who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren for Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, won this year’s Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award. Aduba won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series last year, marking only the second time in history such a win has a occurred. Actor Ed Asner was the first to achieve the feat.

Regina King won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie award for her role in the ABC miniseries, American Crime in the role of Aliyah Shaheed.

While the Emmy Awards gave off the appearance of diversity, there has been a dearth of wins for African-Americans historically despite a slew of nominations. But after this most recent awards show, an African-American actor or actress has won at least one award in every category except for the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy.

Diahann Carroll was the first Black actor or actress ever nominated in 1963, while Bill Cosby became the first Black winner of an Emmy in 1966.

Gail Fisher of the 70’s detective show Mannix, was the first Black actress to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award in 1970.

Actresses Debbie Allen and Alfre Woodard sit at the top of the list for most nominations with 19 and 17 nods respectively. Woodard has collected the most Emmys, male of female, with four wins, and Allen has won three times. Cosby and Cicely Tyson have also both won three times.

(Photo: Associated Press)

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One thought on “Little Known Black History Fact: Historic Emmy Firsts

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