34% of Emmy nominations this year are to Black folks, but is that still enough?

This week's episode of the 'Dear Culture Podcast' reviews the cultural wins and misses of #EmmySoBlack

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 06: Zendaya attends the Bvlgari B.zero1 Rock collection event at Duggal Greenhouse on February 06, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

#BlackLivesMatter to #EmmysSoBlack, a Fresh Prince reboot and another Black-ish spinoff on the way, it’s apparent that American media lately has been shifting culturally to include Black audiences. Given the nature of our current political climate many Black folks are both saying yay and nay to the many changes that have arrived. Understandably, many of us are proud to see different versions of Blackness expressed on the large screen, however many of us also wonder if the changes are simply performative. Hence this week on The Dear Culture Podcast, hosts Shana Pinnock and Cortney Wills ask, “Dear Culture, after years of being so white, are the 2020 Emmy Awards finally Black enough?”

“Black Culture is in an age of awakening.” — says theGrio’s Social Media Director, Shana Pinnock.

Read More: Zendaya makes history with Emmy win for ‘Euphoria’

The Academy recently launched a new set of guidelines for the Oscars in the category of Best Picture to raise the bar of inclusion ranging from crew, production and actors alike. Though this is a step in the right direction, it’s important to remember inclusion is simply not a quota. As far as the Emmys go–there are more Black folks nominated this year more than ever and still large pockets of the Black American social fabric that feel missed out. Lacking in representation for our homies who are Afro-LatinX, Muslim, Queer and GenderQueer, and differently abled to just name a few. As much as the Black stories and Black talent being highlighted by the Emmys is deeply valuable in the history of Black expression, we know we’re not monolithic as a diaspora. And each story sheds new light as it deeply resonates with the Black community.

91st Annual Academy Awards - Fan Arrivals
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 24: Shangela attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

From Billy Porter, Sterling K Brown, to Issa Rae and Regina King. Black people are pushing the storyboard and American media is seeing how magical we are. Former RuPaul Drag Race contestant, Shangela, who’s been nominated for their work in HBO’s “We’re Here” let Dear Culture know that simply being nominated is an enormous feat that in of itself is a blessing. And though it’s not American Idol, it’s important to cheer on Black talent on in the Emmy’s by voting.

“It’s important that the people voting reflect the people that are out here working and creating.” says Shangela, first time Emmy nominee. 

Read More: Shangela speaks on Emmy-nominated HBO series ‘We’re Here’

Recognizing the diverse Black talent in different fields, The Academy’s voting body too should account for that. That’s what change in The Academy looks like for Cortney Wills. As much as we love to see brilliant Black folks getting recognized for their amazing talents and feats, nonetheless the power is in the vote. 

Big screen or small screen, our recent political climate continues to remind us that nominations alone are not enough and that “it’s not time to sit and clap yet” regardless of the groundbreaking year. Perhaps each year could be a groundbreaking year in The Academy. 

Tune in Dear Culture, the smart, reliable Black news podcast. Now streaming on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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