2016 Emmy Nominees Prove TV Is Finally Less Than #SoWhite

Photo: Billy Farrell/BFA/REX/Shutterstock.
We have a long way to go, but this could be a sign of progress: The 2016 Primetime Emmy nominations were announced today, and 21 nominated actors are people of color. That's two more than in 2015 and, well, 21 more than received Oscar nods over the past two years. Is this a sign that TV is at least a little closer to reflecting the real-life diversity of our population?

The nominees include Taraji P. Henson (Empire) and Viola Davis (last year's winner, for How to Get Away With Murder) for Best Actress in a Drama, and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) for Best Actor in a Drama. Anthony Anderson (black-ish) and Aziz Ansari (Master of None) for Best Actor in a Comedy, and black-ish's Tracee Ellis Ross for Best Actress in a Comedy. Supporting Comedy Actor and Actress nods went to Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), and Niecy Nash (Getting On). In the TV Movie and Limited Series categories, Kerry Washington, Audra McDonald, Idris Elba, Courtney B. Vance, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sterling K. Brown, Bokeem Woodbine, and Regina King are all nominees.

Even with that good news, there is a glaring lack of Latinos (none) and Asians (one) on the list. This report from the Chicago Tribune published in May shows that even this year's much-praised Tony Awards were less diverse than the actual country.

As Davis said in her acceptance speech when she became the first Black woman to win Best Actress in a Drama last year, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." According to The Hollywood Reporter, 12 of this fall's new TV shows feature nonwhite leads, so here's hoping that means the progress will continue.

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