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The Diversity of the 2015 Emmys

The Diversity of the 2015 Emmys

Viola Davis, Jeffrey Tambor, Regina King

Hopefully someday soon this much inclusion and representation will be commonplace. 

It was an award ceremony for the history books last night at the 67th Emmys. The diversity of the nominees this year was a talking point during host Andy Samberg's monologue ("racism is over - don't fact-check that) and was accentuated throughout the night by the winners in many categories.

Jeffrey Tambor followed up his Golden Globe win for his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman in Amazon's Transparent (in which Anjelica Huston is joining season 2) by winning the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the same role. After his typical thanks, he dedicated his performance and this award, like his Globe, to the transgender community, thanking them "for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of the change."

Some of the most moving moments of the night came from the women of color who deservedly won their respective categories. Uzo Aduba won the Emmy for supporting actress in a drama series for Orange is the New Black this year after she won the Emmy for guest actress for the same role last year.

Taraji P. Henson handed Regina King the award for best actress in a limited series or movie for American Crime, along with a firm hug and massive cheering.

But the night was truly stolen when Viola Davis became the first black woman to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series for her role of Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder (the role for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe last year and won the Screen Actors Guild Award). After running straight into Henson, who was also nominated in the same category for Empire, for one of the best congratulatory hugs ever, Davis made her way to the stage and started her speech by quoting Harriet Tubman. "In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can't seem to get there no how. I can't seem to get over that line." She went on to say, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there," and thanked the writing team at Shondaland including Peter Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes herself.

After thanking her writers she thanked other black actresses who have helped revolutionize diversity on television when it comes to the inclusion of women of color, including Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, and Gabrielle Union among others. Hopefully the most diverse pool of Emmy nominees coupled with the diverse group of winners signals that wide-sweeping inclusion on television is more than a trend.

Olive Kitteridge, which was originally written by lesbian author Elizabeth Strout, also took home statuettes for writing, directing for a limited series, and Bill Murray received the Emmy for best actor in a limited series for his role.

See a full list of winners here.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Dennis Hinzmann