Crying, Shaking, Throwing Up: Quinta Brunson & Abbott Elementary Are Emmy-Nominated!!!

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
The nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards are here and hit comedy series “Abbott Elementary” (streaming on Disney+) scored big, garnering a total of seven — seven!!! — nods.  The critically-acclaimed show secured nominations for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series (Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues), Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series (Janelle James as Principal Ava Coleman, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard), Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series (Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie), Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series (Brunson). The nominations come as a pleasant surprise considering the Emmys’ track record of largely ignoring shows starring and created by Black creators. Pundits predicted that Abbott Elementary would get some love today, but the supporting cast recognitions were a shock — even though they were well deserved. (Lee Ralph’s reaction to receiving her first Emmy nom ever has us in our feelings!) 
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Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Abbott Elementary is a mockumentary-style sitcom that follows a group of passionate teachers and their principal working in one of Philadelphia’s worst-ranked and underfunded public schools. The odds may be stacked against them, but in this light-hearted comedy, the cohort still goes above and beyond to help their students succeed. Abbott Elementary’s debut season emerged as one of the most beloved primetime TV series of 2022, and its strong ratings made it ABC’s No. 1 new comedy, even earning a coveted 100% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. The last broadcast TV shows to earn Best Comedy Emmy nominations were back in 2017 with black-ish and Modern Family, so this is quite the feat. Abbott’s success is undeniable, and it’s amazing to see the efforts of the cast and crew being recognised in this way. We know that white-run award shows are never made for us, and for the most part, we’re divesting from placing too much importance on them, but we know that the industry is set up in a way that awards matter. And these nominations will solidify Janelle James as the comedic star that she is, Lee Ralph as the legend she’s always been, and catapult Brunson into another level of her already-impressive career.
Brunson, who created, writes and stars in the show, made history with her nominations. She is the first Black woman to earn three nominations in comedy categories in the same year. At 32, she is the youngest Black woman ever nominated in the comedy acting category. It’s always embarrassing for these award shows when they remind us how little they’ve nominated Black women in the past with these “history-making” noms, but it’s still exciting to celebrate our faves. (Never forget that Brunson got her start making memes for Buzzfeed!) Along with the three Black female actors from Abbot Elementary who are nominated, Issa Rae is also nominated for Best Lead Actress for HBO’s Insecure, and Zendaya garnered a nod for her work in Euphoria. 
It’s amazing to see a Black show getting its flowers, especially in its freshman season. These nominations assert Abbott Elementary not only as one of TV’s best and most promising shows, but Brunson as one of TV’s top creatives. I’m proud of her like she’s my cousin or friend IRL. As Issa Rae famously said at the Emmys in 2017, come September, we’re “rooting for everybody Black.” 

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