Undoubtedly, this has been a banner year for diversity in television programming on broadcast networks, cable and streaming services with several shows created by or starring African-Americans. With the success of shows like “Empire”, “How to Get Away With Murder”, “Black-ish”, “Orange Is The New Black”, “Scandal” and others, it was expected that when the 67th Annual Emmy nominations were announced last week several African-Americans would be among those nominated. The Emmy nominations didn’t disappoint with a record number of 18 African Americans receiving nominations across all acting categories. Among those, seven of the nominees are alumni of the Broadway stage.
Leading the way is Broadway veteran and Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Viola Davis who was nominated for lead actress in a drama for her role as “Annalise Keating” in ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”. Davis won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her role as “Rose” in August Wilson’s Fences in 2010 and Tonya in Wilson’s King Hedley II in 2001. Davis also won another Drama Desk Award for her work in the 2004 off-Broadway production of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage.
Davis wasn’t the only actress from “How to Get Away With Murder” who received an Emmy nomination.
Stage and film heavyweight Cicely Tyson received a nomination for guest actress in a drama for her appearance as Davis’ mother. Tyson is no stranger to theatre, having appeared in more than a dozen stage plays beginning with 1957’s Dark of the Moon. In 2013, she won a Tony Award for her spectacular portrayal of “Miss Carrie Watts” in The Trip to Bountiful. She also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for the role.
Theater mainstay and Broadway star Titus Burgess was nominated for supporting actor in a comedy series for his role as “Titus Andromedon” in the Netflix hit “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. Burgess was widely acclaimed for his role as “Sebastian” in The Little Mermaid and “Nicely-Nicely Johnson” in the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls.
Other notable African-American Broadway veterans who received Emmy nominations include:
Cathey nominated for guest actor in a drama for his role in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards”, has appeared in several Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. In 2002, he won an Obie Award for Ensemble Performance for Talk.
Braugher who’s appeared in productions of The Whipping Man in 2011 and Hamlet in 2008, was nominated as a supporting actor in a comedy for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.
Bassett made her Broadway debut in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 1988. After a successful film career, she returned to Broadway opposite Samuel L. Jackson in The Mountaintop in 2012. Bassett received a supporting actress in a limited series/movie Emmy nomination for her role in “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.
Alexander, who appeared in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, was nominated as guest actress in a drama for her role as “Maya Pope” in “Scandal”.
Also, Taraji P. Henson who was a Musical Theatre Major in college will make history alongside Viola Davis. The ladies will be the first African-American best actress, drama category nominees to be nominated at the same time.
We can’t forget Queen Latifah for her countless roles in musical movies (Hairspray, Chicago, & now Bessie) or Uzo Aduba who, before OITNB, appeared on Broadway in the musical Godspell and the play Coram Boy.
The Complete list for the 18 black nominees for the 67th Annual Emmy Awards:
- Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder (lead actress drama)
- Taraji P. Henson, Empire (lead actress drama)
- David Oyelowo,Nightingale (lead actor limited series/movie)
- Queen Latifah, Bessie (lead actress limited series/movie)
- Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (supporting actor comedy)
- Anthony Anderson, black-ish (lead actor, comedy series)
- Don Cheadle, House of Lies (lead actor, comedy series)
- Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black (supporting actress, drama series)
- Reg. E. Cathey, House of Cards (guest actor in a drama series)
- Cicely Tyson, How To Get Away With Murder (guest actress, drama)
- Khandi Alexander, Scandal (guest actress, drama)
- Keegan-Michael Kay, Key & Peele (supporting actor, comedy series)
- Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (supporting actor, comedy series)
- Niecy Nash, Getting On (supporting actress, comedy series)
- Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie (supporting actor, limited series/movie)
- Regina King, American Crime (supporting actress, limited series/movie)
- Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show (supporting actress, limited series/movie)
- Mo’Nique, Bessie (supporting actress, limited series/movie)