‘Unheard, yet over-policed’: Black and Asian women send a strong message as they make history at the Emmy Awards

Major wins for Black and Asian artists at the 2024 Emmy Awards with Quinto Brunson, Niecy Nash-Betts, Ayo Edibiri, Ali Wong and others winning their categories

Black and Asian artists won big at the 2023 Emmy Awards

The minority representation was strongly felt at the 2024 Emmy Awards with artists from marginalized communities shattering the glass ceiling in their respective categories and scoring major wins on a night dedicated to celebrating the best in television.

The night opened with Quinta Brunson becoming the first Black Comedy Lead Actress winner in more than 40 years to win the Emmy for Abbott Elementary, a show she created and writes for.

“I am so happy to be able to live my dream and act out comedy,” said Brunson in her winning speech.

“I love my mom, my dad, my sisters, my brothers, my entire family so much. I love my husband. I love my cast. I love Abbott Elementary. Thank you so much,” she added.

Before Brunson’s feat, the first and only Black winner in the category was Isabel Sanford who was recognized for her role in Norman Lear’s classic The Jeffersons in 1981 with an Emmy Award.

As a newly inducted Emmy awardee, Brunson joins the likes of Tina Fey and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in a very unique category of Emmy award-winning actresses who led their own shows both as a creator and writer.

Following Brunson’s lead, Niecy Nash-Betts bagged another for the Black community, winning an Emmy for best supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or TV movie for her role in Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

‘I accept this award on behalf of all Black and Brown women …’

Nash-Betts was overcome with emotion when arriving on stage to collect her award, calling it a “divine moment” and chose to dedicate her big win to “Black and Brown women.”

“I accept this award on behalf of every Black and Brown woman who has gone unheard yet over-policed, like Glenda Cleveland (Nash-Betts’ character in Dahmer — Monster), like Sandra Bland, like Breonna Taylor. As an artist, my job is to speak truth to power, and baby, I’m going to do it until the day I die,” she said in a rousing speech with applause from the crowd growing louder and many on their feet to recognize her remarkable feat.

Joining the glistening list of accolades was Ayo Edebiri, who won outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series Emmy award for her performance in The Bear.

In her winning speech, Edebiri thanked her family and her supporters for backing her in feeling proud of being “beautiful and Black.”

Trevor Noah, the famous South African comedian, went home with an award for The Daily Show in the best variety talk series category.

Noah is the first person of colour to front a winner for variety talk series and its predecessor category — outstanding variety, music or comedy series — since In Living Color, created by and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans, won the award in 1990.

History made for Asian representation in Hollywood

In another historic feat, Ali Wong became the first Asian-American to win lead actress in a limited series for her performance in Beef in which she played the role of a woman at a crossroads in her life, whose rivalry with a stranger escalates from a road rage incident to full-blown chaos.

“I wouldn’t be standing here without my parents,” she said onstage.

“My mother and my father, who I so wish was alive to share this moment with me, my hilarious father who loved me unconditionally and taught me the value of failure.”