This year’s Emmys made history in more ways than one, with Hollywood’s first major acting awards show held since the pandemic began setting a new record for the most wins by Black actors.
Last night, September 20, saw seven Black performers taking home awards in major categories, topping the previous record of six set two years ago. It comes after the Television Academy gave out a record number of Emmy nominations to Black actors, with 34.3% of the acting nominees being Black.
Out of the 18 acting awards handed out at the 72nd Emmy Awards, nine of them (50%) went to Black actors – a notable increase from last year, when 11.11% of acting winners were Black.
Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Uzo Aduba and Zendaya all won awards during Sunday’s ceremony, joining Eddie Murphy, Maya Rudolph and Ron Cephas Jones – who won guest acting Emmys on Saturday.
Both Murphy and Rudolph took home the win thanks to their roles on the same episode of Saturday Night Live from December 2019. Incredibly, Rudolph also picked up her second Emmy win, for outstanding voiceover performance for her work on Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth.
Jasmine Cephas Jones, the daughter of winner Ron Cephas Jones, won a short form acting award for Quibi’s #FreeRayShawn alongside Laurence Fishburne, making them the first parent-child duo to win an Emmy during the same ceremony.
They weren’t the only ones making history, though; King’s win for lead actress in a limited series or movie means she has now tied the record for most Emmys won by a Black actor, with four, sharing the achievement with Alfre Woodard.
History was also made with Zendaya’s lead drama actress win for HBO’s Euphoria, making her the youngest ever winner for lead actress in a drama series at 24.
It was also only the second time in the Emmys’ 71-year history that a Black woman has won that category, with Viola Davis first winning in 2015 for her starring role in How To Get Away With Murder.
Elsewhere in the awards, Black winners made up 33.33% of the winners overall in the six writing categories, BIPOC winners made up 50% and female winners made up 16.67%.
Out of the seven directing categories, Black winners made up 14%, BIPOC winners made up 28.6% and female winners made up 28.6% overall, as per Variety.
However, because these categories are often won by multiple people sharing one nomination, this breakdown was significantly lower when it came to individual people, with Black winners making up just 2.13% of the winners overall, BIPOC making up 3.2% and women making up 3.2% in writing.