Actress Regina King has spoken. She wasn’t too happy about this year’s Emmy Awards. She has a column in The Huffington Post discussing the small number of nominees of color at the Emmy Awards over the years. I haven’t watched the Emmy Awards in years because the same old folks were always nominated year after year and the shows and actors that are nominated just don’t appeal to me. The tv shows I’ve found more interesting are always ignored by the Emmys.
Since the Emmy ceremony, I have been going back and forth about whether or not I should compose this letter. I try hard in my daily life not to engage in uncomfortable situations regarding race. But sometimes it’s very difficult to find other reasons that better explain why certain events play out the way they do. It is impossible for me to ignore the published statistics regarding the number of people of color mentioned, celebrated or honored in the history of the televised Emmys. Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actors nominated for Emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy.
She mentions that a picture of True Blood actress Rutina Wesley was labeled as Regina King cause you know all us black folks look alike 😦
I’ve worked in television nearly all of my professional life, and that statistic is quite sobering to me. And to add injury to my already sensitive nerve endings a picture of Rutina Wesley from True Blood, who attended this year’s Emmys, had a caption that read: “Regina King enters the 62nd Emmys.” No, I wasn’t there. Mistakes happen, right? Well after a few “mistakes” of how people of color are portrayed in the Hollywood media, I decided it was important to say something about how things go down in Hollywood.
The initial pull on my heart strings was not seeing the veteran Sesame Street actress Alaina Reed Hall included in this year’s memoriam.
I’m glad to see a Hollywood actress speak out about liberal Hollywood. But the problem isn’t just the Emmys. It’s the hiring practices going on in liberal Hollywood. I remember reading a comment by a black actress years ago that Hollywood practices legal discrimination by using the line “we’re not going black for this role.” Can you imagine a private company saying some mess like that to a potential employee?
Seems like whenever a new show comes up, the leading roles always default to white actors. As Stephanie Zacharek stated in her Salon.com column Invisible Women back in 2002 about the lack of movie roles for black actresses:
The question of why there are few good roles for black actresses is virtually irrelevant. A more significant question might be: How many roles in Hollywood movies actually need to be played by a white woman, and a white woman only?
I saw more black folks on network tv in leading roles in the late 80’s and 90’s compared to today. TPTB in Hollywood are always using the same old excuse that white viewers don’t want to see black actors in leading roles even if it’s a quality tv show. You would think Hollywood’s target audience was the Tea Party crowd.
Anyway NBC has a new show coming on this season titled Undercovers starring Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha Raw. I blogged about the casting of this show back in February. Undercovers premieres on September 22. At least NBC has the guts and courage to cast two black actors in leading roles for a show that’s not a comedy. This is the first time in years that’s I’m actually looking forward to watching a new network television show. I’m curious to see how this show will do in the ratings. Will NBC punk out if Undercovers doesn’t show up in the top 10? If it’s a good show I hope it last more than one season but Hollywood’s target audience might not like it 😉