For the first time in Emmy history, the trophies for all four guest actor categories went to African-American performers.
Tiffany Haddish won best guest actress in a comedy for hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Ron Cephas Jones won best guest actor in a drama for “This Is Us,” Samira Wiley won best guest actress in a drama for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Katt Williams won best guest actor in a comedy for “Atlanta.”
Both Jones and Wiley had been nominated previously, while Williams and Haddish won in their first year being nommed.
The wins come amidst a larger push for diversity and inclusion in television, both in front of and behind the camera. As Variety noted when this year’s Emmy nominees were announced, 36 non-white actors were nominated this year, up 20% from the year before.
The four guest categories — which date back to 1989 — have been awarded to actors of color before, including in 2003, when Charles S. Dutton won for “Without A Trace” and Alfre Woodard won for “The Practice,” as well as 2014, when Uzo Aduba triumphed for “Orange is the New Black” along with Joe Morton for “Scandal.”
The TV Academy has been breaking records with each year. Last year, for example, Lena Waithe made history as the first black woman to win for comedy writing. And Sterling K. Brown is poised to repeat for his dramatic work on “This Is Us,” as is Donald Glover for his performance on the FX comedy “Atlanta.”