After a four-month delay, due to the dual strikes in 2023, the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards premiered on MLK Day. The ceremony saw groundbreaking wins for artists of color. Hosted by actor and gameshow host Anthony Anderson, this year’s show tied the record established in the 1991 ceremony. Performers of color received five of the 12 acting awards.
While it was a big celebration for all, women of color continued to break records in their perspective categories. “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson and “The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri became the first Black woman pair to win Best Actress and Supporting Actress for a comedy series, respectively, in the same year. “Beef” actress Ali Wong also made history as the first Asian woman to win an Emmy for a lead role.
Actress and “Password” host Keke Palmer became the first woman in 15 years to win the award for Outstanding Host for a Game Show. The last time a woman won was in 2009 when Meredith Vieira hosted “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Palmer is the first Black woman to ever even be nominated in that category. Her nomination also represents the first time in 50 years that “Password” has been up for an award.
One thing is clear from the Emmy Awards: Black women dominated with style and grace. From Anderson’s mother Doris Bowman acting as the official timekeeper to the historic appearances from legends, like Marla Gibbs and Tichina Arnold, it was unforgettable. Here are the Black women Emmy award winners from the 75th annual showcase.
Ayo Edebiri: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Receiving the first award of the night, Ayo Edebiri became the third Black woman to win in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category. The first-time Emmy winner joins Jackée Harry, who won in 1987, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won in 2022.
“I am so incredibly grateful for this for so many reasons,” she said. “I love [my parents] so much. Thank you guys so much for loving me and letting me feel beautiful and Black and proud of all of that.”
Edebiri, who plays Sydney Adamu in Hulu’s “The Bear,” has been on a role this award season. For her performance in the television show, she also snagged a Golden Globe and a Critic’s Choice Award.
Quinta Brunson: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Everyone’s favorite quirky and devoted television teacher took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Quinta Brunson, who plays Janine Teagues in her show “Abbott Elementary,” become the first Black woman to win the award in 40 years, joining “The Jeffersons” actress Isabel Sanford.
With a mixture of shock, thankfulness and glee, she accepted her award from seven-time Emmy winner Carol Burnett. “I love making ‘Abbott Elementary’ so much, and I am so happy to be able to live my dream and act out comedy,” she said. “I just love comedy so much, and I am so happy to be able to get this.”
Niecy Nash-Betts: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or TV Movie
Niecy Nash-Betts gave one of the most impactful and moving speeches of the night. Accepting the award for her role as Glenda Cleveland in “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” Nash-Betts brought the audience to their feet with applause.
“I want to thank me, for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do,” she said. “I want to say to myself in front of all you beautiful people, “Go, girl, with your bad self. You did that.’ Finally, I accept this award on behalf of every Black and Brown woman who have gone unheard, yet overpoliced, like Glenda Cleveland, like Sandra Bland, like Breonna Taylor!”