The Illusion of Progress: Black Women’s Struggle for Recognition During Award Season

Quinta Brunson and Niecy Nash at the 2023 Emmys
Quinta Brunson and Niecy Nash at the 2023 Emmys
Television Academy

How often have Black women made history at an award show? Black women in the 21st century shouldn’t still be breaking ground in major award categories. Although it finally seemed like Black Women were getting the recognition they rightfully deserve this award season, were they really?

At the 2023 Emmys, Ayo Edebri won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Bear. Niecy Nash won her first Emmy with her performance in the Netflix series, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Quinta Brunson won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy, the second black actress to win it in over 40 years.

At the Oscars this year, only one black woman received an award: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Holdovers.”

For the Grammys, we had winners from SZA (Best R&B Song for Snooze; Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Ghost in the Machine) to Victoria Monét (Best New Artist)

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Even with these wins, I couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled and disappointed, especially regarding the Grammys. Black women have spent years perfecting their craft.

A Black Woman hasn’t won Album of the Year since 1999, and Beyonce, who is now known to have the most Grammys in the entire history of the award, has not received her flowers when it comes to this category, even though we can say that many of her albums deserved the spot.

Why did it take 40+ years for a black woman to win an Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series? When we have actresses like Jasmine Guy, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Kim Fields, and others.

Should we care about what Hollywood thinks when we already know the answer ourselves? Our art is up to the discretion of Hollywood’s lenses and is entirely harmful to the advancement of culture. Black women are and will continue to be a beacon for creativity and change in the world, and that sentiment alone is more powerful than any award.

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