This year’s Emmy nominations were unveiled on Tuesday, July 28, and the list features the highest number of Black nominees in Emmy history. Across categories, there are a stunning 102 nominees total, which means that 34.3% of nominees are Black — a drastic increase from 2019, when only 19.8% of the nominees were Black. The previous record had been set in 2018, with 27.7% of the nominations going to Black performers.
The list includes a wide range of talented Black actors in all genres of television, including Zendaya, Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Maya Rudolph, Samira Wiley, Wanda Sykes, Mahershala Ali, Laverne Cox and many more.
Social media has been overflowing with statements of gratitude and congratulations, including some happy words from the nominated actors themselves.
“Feeling so much love, and feeling so blessed,” wrote actress Kerry Washington, who received four Emmy nominations in four categories — another Emmy record.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) July 28, 2020
Yvonne Orji, who was nominated for outstanding supporting actress for her role as Molly Carter in HBO’s “Insecure,” also celebrated the good news on Twitter.
“I know Molly stressed y’all THE heck OUT this season, but shout out to all of you for riding with @insecurehbo and for VOTING!!” Orji wrote.
I know Molly stressed y’all THE heck OUT this season, but shout out to all of you for riding with @insecurehbo and for VOTING!! We IN HERE! And it’s even sweeter when the WHOLE SQUAD THRIVIN TOO! 👏🏾👏🏾 to @IssaRae on her Emmy nod, the entire show, AND @BlackLadySketch!
— Yvonne Orji (@YvonneOrji) July 28, 2020
It seems the inclusion of more Black actors was a deliberate decision by the Emmys team. Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of Television Academy, gave context at the beginning of the nominations announcement.
“2020 isn’t just about the global health crisis. This year we are also bearing witness to one of the greatest fights for social justice in history, and it is our duty to use this medium for change,” Scherma said.
“That is the power and responsibility of television — not only delivering a multitude of services or a little escapism, but also amplifying the voices that must be heard and telling the stories that must be told. Because television, by its very nature, connects us all.”