More performers of color nominated for Emmy Awards this year, study shows

Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday

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Results from a new NBC News study found that in the past 10 years of Emmy nominations, nearly 80 percent went to white performers. 

The research shows 15 percent of nominations went to Black performers, however less than 3 percent went to Latino performers. The percentages shrink even more for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Barely 1 percent went to performers of Middle Eastern or Northern African descent.

The data does not include nominations in “short form” content such as programs on YouTube as that category was introduced only four years ago.

This year, 42 performers of color were nominated, but some say this is only the first step towards real change.

Read More: Creative director Jemel McWilliams on his Emmy nod: ‘It’s an absolute honor’

Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday. The show this year is set to be a virtual experience to fall under social distancing guidelines with a very limited number of people attending actual events. As an extra precaution presenters will be wearing complete hazmat suits to hand out awards.

Rashad Robinson, the president of the racial justice organization Color of Change, told NBC that diversity at major awards shows deserves attention. He says recognition in the form of nominations can help catapult the careers of artists of color. 

“In the midst of so many different racial justice issues I could care about, I care about this because of the economic consequences on real people,” Robinson said.

emmys.com/Television Academy

In a statement to NBC News this week, a spokesperson for the Television Academy said the organization recognized the need for change. 

“As an organization which is open for membership to all individuals working in the television industry, the Television Academy fervently agrees that there is still much work to be done across our industry in regards to representation,” the spokesperson said.

“We feel it is a very positive sign that over the past decade the well-deserved recognition of performers of color has increased from 1 in 10 to 1 in 3 nominees across all performer categories,” the spokesperson added.

Read More: Maya Rudolph wins first Emmy for ‘Big Mouth’

NBC reported that in the last five years, only two Latinos — Louis C.K., whose father is of Mexican and Hungarian descent, and Alexis Bledel, who is Latina— were among the nominees for lead or supporting performance in a comedy or drama series.

“It is embarrassing that an industry situated in Los Angeles continues to have such a lack of Latino representation,” Robinson said.  

People from Latino/Hispanic backgrounds make up about half the population of Los Angeles. 

The lack of diversity in Emmy nominations could be a reflection of the entertainment business as a whole. 

A 2019 Hollywood Diversity Report at UCLA found that performers of color played lead characters on just less than 22 percent of broadcast shows, cable shows and digital shows.

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