Author Note: These are events that happened this week that I chose to highlight. These are in no way everything everyone needs to know. I highly encourage everyone to read the news from reliable sources to develop their own opinions. My opinions have been italicized. With that being said, all opinions stated in this article are my own so if you don’t like them, drink water and mind your business. Abeg, with all the wahala wey dey for earth no put my matta for head.
In this week of Wassapened This Week we focused on Black people winning and succeeding. I was tired of seeing negatives and wanted to shine a light on the great things we Black folk are doing.
On Monday, Sept. 12th, the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards was a historic night for Black women. Only 36 Black women have won Primetime Emmy awards, according to Essence. The awards ceremony honored American primetime television programming released from June 1, 2021, until May 31, 2022. The extraordinary Quinta Brunson, incomparable Sheryl Lee Ralph, admirable Lizzo and groundbreaking Zendaya all won awards that night.
Brunson, creator and star of ABC’s hit comedy Abbott Elementary, made history as the youngest Black woman ever nominated as an actress in a comedy, at 32. Also, her three Emmy nominations already made her the first Black woman nominated in three comedy categories in the same year and the second Black woman in the Emmys’ 74-year history to win the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series. Not one, not two but three historical moments from one person! My dear, it’s not easy, ohh. We hail you!! Though Jimmy’s foolish self tried to outshine Brunson with that nonsense comedy bit, he couldn’t even come close. Quinta’s accomplishments shine far brighter.
Ralph won her first Emmy on Monday, a legend in every sense of the word. Did you know this woman has been killing it in Hollywood for over 40 years? Not only is this long overdue but extremely well deserved. Ralph won outstanding supporting actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Barbara Howard in Brunson’s hit sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” She’s the second Black woman to win the award; she got it 35 years after Jackée Harry won for her role on “227” in 1987 and 1988.
Lizzo, the multiple award-winning musicians, won the award for the outstanding competition program. Lizzo won the award for her Amazon series “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” which documented her search for backup dancers. Lizzo has kept true to her word and has been a champion for Black women, the LGBTQ community and women of all sizes. She said she wasn’t going anywhere and she meant that sh*t.
Zendaya, the multiple actress-winning actress and star of “Euphoria,” made history again when she won the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series. Did you read that correctly? She did it AGAIN; this is not the first time. Don’t talk to her anyhow. She’s not your mate at all. With this win, she became the youngest actress to win for acting at the Emmy Awards twice at 26. Also, she is the second Black woman, only after Viola Davis, to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. You thought I was done? Well, I’m not. Abeg, keep reading. Zendaya was also the youngest producing nominee ever and the first Black woman to receive songwriting and acting nods in the same year. Remember when I said she was not your mate? I meant it.
On Monday, Sept. 12th, the once “Cort Theatre” shun for the first time as the “James Earl Jones Theatre.” This name change was first announced in March as the Shubert Organization pledged to rename one of its 17 theaters in honor of a Black artist. This is truly a full circle moment as Jones gave his first onstage Broadway performance at the Cort Theatre in 1958 in the play “Sunrise at Campobello.” Jones had also performed in 14 theatrical productions at Shubert theaters and starred in 21 Broadway shows. The renaming makes it the second major Broadway theater named after a Black artist. Jones’ six-decade career has easily cemented him as one of America’s most renowned actors. Throughout his career, he has earned numerous awards and accolades, amongst them but not limited to two Emmys, a Grammy, an honorary Oscar and two Tonys. He has achieved the highly coveted EGOT status. An honor attained by only 16 other people. I love seeing people receive their flowers while they are still alive. Oftentimes, people aren’t praised till they are gone. I always thought, does it truly matter if the praise recipient never gets to see how much they are loved? Also, it’s refreshing to see a Black man praised for his accomplishments and contributions to the world.
On Friday, Sept. 16, “The Woman King,” the historical epic directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, was released to much praise and critical acclaim. The film chronicles the story and life of the Agojie, the all-female warriors that dominated and protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey, modern-day Benin, during the 17th to 19th centuries. This is not the first time Hollywood has pulled inspiration from the Agojie, as the Dora Milaje of Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” was also based/inspired by them. I loved that the main cast was all dark skin women and men. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen so many dark skin women kicking ass on a cinema screen. MY GOD, it was amazing. Before I watched the film, I was aware they were advertising it as a Black female empowerment film, so I knew that the film would not be completely accurate considering the complicated history of the Dahomey Kingdom. I was still able to see the beauty in what they created cinematically while also understanding the importance of not basing my entire understanding of historical moments on cinematic depictions. They did exactly what they said they would and I think they did a fantastic job at it but as always, I highly encourage everyone to learn history from reliable sources.