Entertainment Journalist Karu Daniel says it best at Ebony.com he says:
Last night could have been historic for African-American television viewers—and Hollywood as a whole. Instead, not so much. Sunday night’s worldwide telecast of the 65th annual Emmy Awards, which celebrated “the best of television,” didn’t net any award wins for three of the most sought after and well-respected Black actors of the crop: Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle and Alfre Woodard.
To some, this will be seen as business as usual. The last Black person to win what most consider the most prestigious television industry honor was Loretta Devine in 2011 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (in the Shonda Rhimes hit series Grey’s Anatomy).
To the chagrin of many television hopefuls, Rhimes’s black magic couldn’t get Kerry Washington—star of the producer’s latest hit vehicle, Scandal—to take home the golden statuette. Washington, who plays Olivia Pope on the ABC series, lost out to Claire Danes of Showtime’s Homeland for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The former My So Called Life actress previously won the same award last year for the same role.
With Scandal, Washington became the first Black actress to headline a primetime network drama series in over 30 years. (Though many media outlets credit Diahann Carroll as the only actress to front a primetime series with the 1968 NBC sitcom Julia, actress Teresa Graves was actually the first Black female star of a television drama on 1974-1975’s Get Christie Love!) For her work as the flawed and fabulous political spin doctor and crisis management expert, Washington has been celebrated by Hollywood before—even landing the cover of Vanity Fair, which has had only a few and far in between Black faces on its front page over the decades. (Diana Ross, Beyoncé, Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Tina Turner have graced the covers, solo, throughout the years.)
When Washington—who’s put in over a decade of memorable film work in movies like Ray, The Human Stain, The Last King of Scotland and Django Unchained—was recognized by this year’s Emmys, she became the first Black actress nominated in the category in nearly 20 years. (The last before her was Cicely Tyson in 1995, for the NBC series Sweet Justice. For four consecutive years in the early 1980s, Debbie Allen was nominated for her role in the hit series Fame.)
Upon learning of her nomination in July, the Bronx native told The New York Times: “I’m honored to share this history with some of the actresses I admire most, people like Debbie Allen, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson and Regina Taylor. To be in that community of actresses is tremendous to me, personally. I’m really excited that a show that is as inclusive and diverse as our show, with regard to not just race, but ethnicity and sexual orientation and age and gender, is able to succeed in the United States and now abroad as well.”