Zendaya, Quinta Brunson among Black actors making history with Emmy nominations

Chadwick Boseman also made history with a posthumous nomination for his voice performance in Marvel's 'What If...?' series.

From Quinta Brunson’s work on her hit series “Abbott Elementary” to Zendaya once again nabbing a nomination for her performance as Rue in “Euphoria,” the Emmy Award nominations have seen some of the biggest Black names in Hollywood break major records.

The Emmy nominations were officially announced this week, highlighting the best television had to offer in 2022. Shows like “Abbott Elementary,” “Euphoria,” “Succession” and “Stranger Things” nabbed multiple nominations, but all eyes are on the Black talent and actors of color who broke records this year, including returning Emmy nominees like Zendaya and freshman entries like Brunson.

2022 TIME100 Gala - Red Carpet
Zendaya attends the 2022 Time 100 Gala last month in New York City. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME)

Zendaya should be used to making Emmy history at this point. She won an Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama in 2020, becoming the youngest actor to ever win in that category. Now with her nominations this year, for starring in “Euphoria” and producing the series, she becomes the youngest two-time acting nominee in Emmy history, per the Hollywood Reporter.

TheGrio sat down with Zendaya earlier this year as she broke down her playing of Rue on “Euphoria” and the story she was able to tell in the show’s acclaimed second season. “I really care about her massively,” she told us at the time. “There are so many people that have shared their stories that feel so deeply connected to Rue … that to me is the most beautiful thing. People being able to feel seen by her or maybe just feel a little bit less alone in what they are feeling or have gone through. That’s really, really important to me.”

Brunson also broke some records with her acclaimed series, “Abbott Elementary.” With the announcement of the Emmy nominations, Brunson becomes the first Black woman to earn three comedy nominations in the same year, per Variety. (She is nominated for outstanding comedy series, lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series.) Brunson, 32, is also the youngest Black actress to receive a nomination in the comedic acting category.

2022 TIME100 Gala - Red Carpet
Quinta Brunson attends the 2022 Time 100 Gala on June 08, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME)

The actress and creator took to Twitter to celebrate her significant achievements. She wrote to her followers, “Crying shaking and throwing up has new meaning to me because I real life did all three. Still speechless. Congrats to the entire staff and cast of Abbott Elementary. And I want to share this moment with all of the people who watch and love the show. Emmy nominated, baby!”


Elsewhere, the late Chadwick Boseman made history with his posthumous nomination for “What If…?,” the animated Marvel Cinematic Universe series, in which he voiced his “Black Panther” character, T’Challa. Boseman is now the first male performer to receive a posthumous nomination in the character voice-over category. (Jessica Walter, who died in 2021, is also nominated in the category, for “Archer.”) “Squid Game,” the popular South Korean series on Netflix, also made history with its 14 nominations. The series, which became at the time the most popular series on the streamer, is the first non-English language show to get recognition in a major category.

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