Not so white Emmys make progress on diversity

With a record number of Emmy nominations for people of color this year, from Issa Rae for "Insecure" and Regina King for "Watchmen", those who watch the industry - like Variety Reporter Angelique Jackson - say the diverse pool of Emmy-nominated actors in 2020 is a step in the right direction for the awards after a summer of national reckoning over race in America.

"The idea about having 34 percent of the nominees this year being Black actors was a huge step forward for the Television Academy. I think you look also at the shows that they were nominated for, you know, 'Insecure', 'Watchmen.' We saw a lot of series that were speaking about racial injustice."

"Watchmen," the superhero alternative reality drama infused with racial themes, led the nominations with 26 nods, while the HBO comedy “Insecure," a show about 20-something Black women living in L.A., scored several nominations, including best comedy series.

Plus, its star Issa Rae, also creator and executive producer of the show, was nominated for Best Comedy Actress.

Mahershala Ali was nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy series for Ramy, a Muslim American sitcom on Hulu.

The co-creator and star of the show, Ramy Youssef - who is Muslim American - also received Emmy nods.

But Jackson says there is still progress to be made, as other groups remain underrepresented.

"I think we are still seeing a major lack when it comes to the full representation of people of color within the industry because there was not a large amount of Latinx representation... we're seeing the work, we're seeing the actors, we're seeing the shows on television, but we're still not seeing that recognition in the awards space."

The Emmy Awards will be handed out on Sunday at a virtual ceremony televised on ABC.

Video Transcript

- I'm focused.

- With the record number of Emmy nominations for people of color this year, from Issa Rae for "Insecure" and Regina King for "Watchmen", those who watch the industry, like variety reporter Angelique Jackson, say the diverse pool of Emmy nominated actors in 2020 is a step in the right direction after a summer of national reckoning over race in America.

ANGELIQUE JACKSON: The idea that having 34% of the nominees this year being Black actors was a huge step forward for the television academy. I think you look also at the shows that they were nominated for, you know "Insecure", "Watchmen". We saw a lot of series that were, you know, speaking about racial injustice.

- "Watchmen", the superhero alternative reality drama infused with racial themes, led nominations with 26 nods, while the HBO comedy "Insecure", a show about twentysomething Black women living in LA, scored several nominations, including Best Comedy Series. Plus, its star, Issa Rae, also creator and executive producer of the show, was nominated for Best Comedy Actress. Mahershala Ali was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series for "Ramy", a Muslim American sitcom on Hulu. The co-creator and star of the show, Ramy Youssef, who is Muslim American, also received Emmy nods. But Jackson says there's still progress to be made as other groups remain underrepresented.

ANGELIQUE JACKSON: I think we are still seeing a major lack when it comes to the full representation of people of color within the industry. Because there was not a large amount of Latinx representation. We're seeing the actual actors, we're seeing the shows on television, but we're still not seeing that recognition in the awards space.

- The Emmy awards will be handed out on Sunday at a virtual ceremony televised on ABC.