Quinta Brunson has just made Emmy history with “Abbott Elementary.” Landing three nominations for outstanding comedy series, lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series (for the “Pilot”), she is the first Black woman to earn three noms in the comedy categories in the same year. At 32, Brunson is also the youngest Black woman ever nominated in the comedy acting category.
Both lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series have only had one Black woman winner each in the Emmys’ previous 74-year history — Isabel Sanford won in 1981 for her iconic role as Louise in CBS’ “The Jeffersons” and Lena Waithe alongside co-writer Aziz Ansari in 2017 for Netflix’s “Master of None.”
In 2020, we saw history made with the first two Black women nominated for both comedy series (as producers) and lead actress in a comedy — Issa Rae for HBO’s “Insecure” and Tracee Ellis Ross for ABC’s “Black-ish.” (Rae was nominated again for lead actress this year.)
The inclusion of Black creatives has been trending upward, but there’s a long way to go. Despite the past two years delivering two comedy series with Black producers recognized (2021 with “Black-ish” and “Cobra Kai” and 2020 with “Insecure” and “What We Do in the Shadows”), only one Black person has won the Emmys’ top comedy category ever — Winifred Hervey for “The Golden Girls” in 1987. “Abbott Elementary” is among the eight nominated shows for outstanding comedy series and would be the first broadcast network show to win the category since “Modern Family” in 2014.
The series is also executive produced by Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker of Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios.
The 74th Emmys will air on Sept. 12.