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The Melanin Will Be Poppin’ at Sunday Night’s Primetime Emmys

Ladies, stock up on popcorn and get ready to root for Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Wanda Sykes, Angela Bassett, Maya Rudolph, Cicely Tyson …

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The Sisters Staff
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Finally, there’s a reason to cheer hooray for Hollywood! 

For this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, there are a record number of Black nominees, including some of our favorite actresses like Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington and Regina King. Out of a total of 102 acting nominees, 34.3 percent look like us — so we have even more chances to root for everybody Black.

These actresses shine in roles that make many of their characters feel like good girlfriends to us. All your favorite bingeworthy shows are repped.

Funny ladies Rae and Ross are competing in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category. This is Rae’s second Emmy nod for her lead role in Insecure, which reminds us of a Black millennial Sex and the City that follows the dramatic escapades of Issa’s ultra-relatable character (also named Issa) and her girlfriends as they navigate conflicts in their careers, drama in their sister circle and volatile romances. (We’re wondering how Issa and Lawrence will handle their long-distance relationship in Season 5.)

Everett Collection

This year, Rae is also nominated for her role as executive producer of Insecure and HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show.

Ross is nominated for a fourth time for her role as black-ish matriarch Dr. Rainbow Johnson, a wise, free-spirited physician, wife and mother of four. (Didn’t you just love the way Bow interceded with Dre and made space for Ruby and Pops to explore their rekindled passion in the season finale? She told him, “It’s her time now.”) The socially- and politically-conscious show is so relevant right now that ABC rushed the premiere to ready it for fall rather than mid-season.

If either Ross or Rae wins, this will be the first win for a Black woman in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category since Isabel Sanford won for The Jeffersons in 1981.


In the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category, dynamic actresses Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer and Regina King will face off with nominations for Little Fires Everywhere, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker and Watchmen,  respectively. Based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel, Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of Mia Warren (Washington), a single mom and struggling artist, and Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon), a white privileged suburban mother who rents her guesthouse to Mia and her daughter. Spencer plays trailblazing hair care entrepreneur Walker. In Watchmen, which is nominated for 26 Emmys this year, King portrays masked avenger Angela Abar/Sister Night.

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Meanwhile, former Disney Channel star Zendaya received her first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, for her role as recovering teen drug addict Rue Bennett in HBO’s edgy drama Euphoria. And Thandie Newton is nominated for a third time for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Maeve Millay, a quick-witted madam who discovers she’s a robot in HBO’s Westworld. She won an Emmy in 2018 for the series’ second season. Samira Wiley, who plays Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale, is nominated as well.

Other talented sisters we’ll be excited to see include Cicely Tyson, who now holds the solo record for the most nominations in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category. Her fifth bid is for her quietly powerful portrayal of Viola Davis’ dementia-stricken mother in How to Get Away With Murder. And we’re cheering for Phylicia Rashad and Laverne Cox for their nods in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category for This is Us and Orange Is the New Black, respectively; and Wanda Sykes and Angela Bassett, both nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and A Black Lady Sketch Show, respectively. Speaking of A Black Lady Sketch Show, the HBO show with the spot-on name is nominated for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, and the cast, including creator and costar Robin Thede, is laugh-out-loud funny.

We’d be remiss not to mention Maya Rudolph, nominated against herself in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category for her work on both The Good Place and Saturday Night Live, the latter for her sassy portrayal of Senator/VP nominee Kamala Harris on Saturday Night Live. And a special shout-out goes to all the brilliant brothers nominated, including Eddie Murphy, Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown and Mahershala Ali.

So get your virtual red-carpet looks and snacks ready and tune into the Primetime Emmy Awards airing September 20 on ABC (check your local listings).