THE MOST EPIC EMMY NIGHT
History was made twice and sisterhood was on full display. With every triumph is a testimony. Three Emmy winners each offering a lesson from how they made it to one of the biggest night's of their lives to how they handled the spotlight. Some takeaways were obvious and others were a little easier to miss. Let's get started.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series
REGINA KING: AMERICAN CRIME | THE LESSON - DO YOUR WORK
Do your work and the accolades will come. Regina King began her career 30 years ago at the age of 14 with the role of Brenda Jenkins on 227. She has since appeared in Black film staples such as Boyz n The Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Friday, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate while also going mainstream with roles in Jerry Maguire, Enemy of the State, Legally Blonde 2, and A Cinderella Story. Despite her display of talent and range she, before her Emmy win, had yet to be acknowledged by an academy that did not consist of her peers. She was outright robbed of her Academy Award for her portrayal of Margie Hendricks in Ray but outwardly she never appeared to be phased by the lack of recognition. Instead of internalizing snubs as a measure of her worth she chose to give more of herself proving that she is just as dynamic behind the lens as she is in front. Described by Shonda Rhimes as a "damned good director", King has directed episodes of Scandal, Being Mary Jane, and Southland in addition to a full length film and documentary. Regina King seems to be getting better with time.
So, Emmy night arrives and King is nominated for her charged and emotional depiction of Black Muslim Aliya Shaheed on 'American Crime'. She attends television's biggest night with her son expecting to be a spectator as she had done her entire career; and then something amazing happened. Regina King's good friend Taraji P. Henson graced the stage, alongside her troublesome Empire co-star Terrence Howard, to present the primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series. The nominees were read and the tension building moment of silence was broken by Henson's gasp. Regina King won! A visibly surprised King and an elated Henson created one of the most genuine and beautiful moments of the night as they shared the moment together. Regina center-stage and Taraji cheering her on, relentlessly. The display of sisterhood and celebration between two members of an exclusive club consisting of Black women in mainstream Hollywood that face discrimination, bias, slander, and forced competition, communicated to everyone that when one of us wins we all win.
Oh, and it's about damn time. Regina King is amazing.
and we were like...
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
UZA ADUBA: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK | THE LESSON - DON'T GIVE UP
Don't give up. Don't ever give up. Once you're clear about your purpose obstacles and challenges will arise; like clockwork. Sometimes the bad days, months, and maybe even years will test your resolve and other times they will contribute to the most intriguing and relatable part of your success story. Uzo Aduba has been very open about the fact that she once quit acting. Like many of us, while chasing her dream, she hit a wall. Uzo had exhausted herself with countless fruitless auditions and thought that the rejection she was experiencing was a sign that she was trying at something that ultimately wasn't for her. She made up her mind to adhere to the preference of her traditional family and attend law school and then something amazing happened. She got a phone call that would change her life and was informed that she was offered the role of Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on the ever popular 'Orange Is The New Black'.
Fast forward two seasons and two Emmy wins later, Uzo Aduba has made history. She is the first (Black) woman in Emmy history to be awarded for the same role in two different categories. Uzo is also a classically trained opera singer so I'm hoping that she'll be awarded the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) during her bright career.
and then we were like...
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
VIOLA DAVIS: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER | THE LESSON - SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
Speak your truth. Speak your truth for the truth shall set you free. Viola Davis also made history as the first Black woman to be names Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series to no surprise. As we hoped that either her or Taraji P. Henson would be awarded (since Kerry Washington wasn't nominated this year) it would have been hard to justify a denial of Viola Davis following her brilliance and vulnerability displayed during the premiere season of 'How To Get Away With Murder'. What we didn't, necessarily, expect was a direct, honest, and bold acceptance speech from Davis. After her name was ccalled she took a brief moment to be embraced by an continuously supportive and sisterly Taraji P. Henson and then something amazing happened.
Viola Davis stood alone on stage took a deep breath and quoted the woman they called Moses making a stark comparison to disparities still plaguing Black women existing in a very white world. That is when the tears fell. Here stands Viola Davis crowned with her natural hair acknowledging that she is not lesser and has only made history in 2015 because of a lack of opportunity for those who came before her and not a lack of talent. She made no implications and instead chose to be very upfront about race in media or lack thereof. She then chose to use her platform to acknowledge other Black actresses who have paved the way for her. Simply put, Viola said "I see you." to a host of women often overlooked and under appreciated. A simple gesture that is hard to come by with predominately white audiences. Sisterhood was the inadvertent theme of the night and Viola immortalized her peers by including them in her history making speech. That's love.
and after that we were like...
and they were like...
Lastly, Taraji Penda Henson is everything and I motion that we henceforth employ the use of her name as a verb and adjective.
Taraji - verb/adjective
1. to show exuberant and unwavering support for Black women.
v "I knew she would Taraji when she heard my name called during commencement."
a "She was very Taraji when I called to tell her I started my own business."