For example, Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy. She, along with comedian Aziz Ansari, took home the Emmy for Best Writing for a Comedy Series for Netflix’s Master of None. Waithe delivered a powerful speech that thanked all of those who identify with the LGBT community.
“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers—every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it,” she said in her speech.
Donald Glover also became an African American first when he grabbed the statue for directing a comedy series. He later took home a second award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series; it has been 32 years since a person of color won this category. Both of these were for FX’s series Atlanta.
Other wins broke long droughts as well. For instance, This Is Us star Sterling Brown was the first African American actor in 19 years to take home the award for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series. Director of The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano also broke a the mold, being the first woman to win an Emmy for Best Directing in a Drama Series since 1995.
Riz Ahmed, for his starring role in The Night Of on HBO, won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. The win made him the second Asian entertainer to ever win an Emmy, and the first man of South Asian descent to take one home.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won a sixth consecutive Emmy last night for her role in HBO’s Veep, breaking the record of Emmy wins for a single role and tying the record for most Emmy wins by a single performer. She snagged the statue for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
Female-driven stories were also celebrated, with multiple wins for HBO’s Big Little Lies and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale —the first streaming show to win Outstanding Drama Series.
The history that was made was even that more impressive in the wake of recent Hollywood controversies, which continues to find itself criticized for its lack of diversity. Women and the African American community can be proud of the wins they were able to take home Sunday night.