Emmys Champions Diversity & Female-led Programs In 2016

Emmys Champions Diversity & Female-led Programs In 2016
Shadow Emmy Eric Norris / Flickr CC

Unlike the Oscars, the 2016 Emmys wasn’t plagued by accusations of racism and sexism. A quarter of the awards were received by actors of color for leading and supporting roles in drama, comedy and limited series.


The number of awards received by actors of color was even greater than last year where out of the 75 nominees, 16 were non-white. In stark contrast to the Oscars where the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite made rounds on social media. The lack of diversity was so apparent it was even boycotted by several non-white actors.

Diversity At The Emmy

According to Variety, the 2016 Emmys showcased the talents of people of color like never before. Every category for the male lead included a nominee of color.

Other categories such as lead actor in a drama and lead actress in a comedy, which were previously all-white featured actors of color. People of color were also nominated for multiple awards such as comedian Aziz Ansari.

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According to Indiewire, the diversity is probably due to the TV show’s focus on a more diverse audience. This gave the 19,000 voters a wide range of options to choose from.

The industry has been aiming TV shows to different audiences. Some have even specifically targeted a particular segment of viewers such as African-Americans. These include the female viewers where, unlike TV networks, Hollywood studios failed to take into account.

Emmys 2016 Championed Diversity & Female-led Programs

“Game of Thrones” racked up awards this year with the sixth season shifting the balance of power into the hands of women. The first season to detach from George R.R. Martin’s novels, actresses Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, and Maisie Williams received nominations.

While the number of nominations still doesn’t quite match America’s racially-diverse population, it’s on the right track. Unlike previous years where whites dominated the awards, this year, many people of color were recognized for their talents.

Hopefully, the 2016 Emmys become a benchmark for diversity, not just awards in the entertainment industry but every aspect of our lives.

Also Read: Emmys 2016: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Snubbed, Why?