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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 22, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 38
Emmys 2017:
McKinnon and Waithe among winners on a night highlighted by diversity
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Emmys 2017:
McKinnon and Waithe among winners on a night highlighted by diversity

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

PRIME TIME EMMYS
MICROSOFT THEATER
LOS ANGELES
September 17


Kate McKinnon and Lena Waithe emerged victorious on Sunday evening's telecast of the Primetime Emmy Awards, which honored the best in television programming of the past season. Although they were the only LGBT artists who took home statuettes during the ceremony, held at LA's Microsoft Theater, the winners' list was the most diverse in the awards' 69-year history.

McKinnon captured her second consecutive Emmy for her work on Saturday Night Live, playing various characters on the variety sketch show, from Hillary Clinton to Kellyanne Conway. Shortly after presenter and Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez called out her name, McKinnon embraced her girlfriend Jackie Abbott before heading up to the stage. It was the first major public appearance for the couple.

Waithe became the first black woman to win for comedy series writing, an award she shared with Aziz Ansari; they both star in the acclaimed Netflix series Master of None and specifically earned Emmys for penning the Thanksgiving episode of the show's second season, where Denise (Waithe) tells her childhood friend Dev (Ansari) and mom (Angela Bassett) that she's gay.

'I love you all and last but certainly not least my LGBTQIA family,' Waithe said excitedly and emotionally during her acceptance speech. 'I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world - because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren't in it.'

She went on to say, 'And for everybody out there that showed so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago. We appreciate it more than you could ever know.'

In an interview with Out magazine earlier this year, Waithe recalled telling her own mother she was lesbian. 'The thing about coming out is that you never want to experience it ever again.'

Donald Glover also made history on Sunday night, becoming the first African-American to earn an Emmy for directing a comedy series; the highly praised show Atlanta. He later accepted a second award for Lead Actor and thus became only the second black person to win in the category; Robert Guillame took home the award for Benson in 1985. Glover is also a hip-hop performer who goes by the name Childish Gambino.

Riz Ahmed was another history maker, becoming the first South Asian to win a lead acting award, for his performance in the limited series The Night Of. The 34 year-old, who also appeared on Girls this past season, was born to Pakistani parents who migrated to England in the 1970s.

RuPaul's Drag Race shockingly lost the Reality-Competition Program award to The Voice, but Drag Race matriarch RuPaul Charles, who claimed the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program prize a week ago at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, did participate in a brief comedic sketch with Stephen Colbert, who hosted the main telecast (not Jimmy Kimmel, as I incorrectly stated in my preview).

Women also dominated the Emmys, as two female-themed shows won big on Sunday, The Handmaid's Tale and Big Little Lies. The former is based on the best-selling book by Margaret Atwood and tells the stories of women made to serve high-ranking men and their wives as handmaids, or rather bear children for them against their will. As expected, Elisabeth Moss won the Lead Actress-Drama statuette, while Ann Dowd delightedly nabbed Supporting Actress-Drama honors. The Handmaid's Tale also earned Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, Writing (Bruce Miller) and Directing, in which Reed Morano beat out a stellar list of nominees that included two fellow female directors, Kate Dennis and Lesli Linka Glatter, and four heavyweight TV-film male directors, Vince Gilligan, Stephen Daldry, Jonathan Nolan and The Duffer Brothers.

Meanwhile, the domestic abuse-themed Big Little Lies claimed multiple awards, as well, including Outstanding Limited Series, Lead Actress (Nicole Kidman), Supporting Actress (Laura Dern), Supporting Actor (Alexander Skarsgard) and Directing (Jean-Marc Vallee). And though Reese Witherspoon lost to Kidman for Lead Actress, she took home an Emmy as one of the show's executive producers.

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Emmys 2017:
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