Regina Kings recently wrote a harsh criticism of the Emmys on The Huffington Post. See criticized the award ceremonies for not recognizing actors of color, confusing her with another Black actress and not recognizing “Sesame Street” and “227” actress Alaina Reed Hall, who passed away this year.
Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actors nominated for Emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy.
I’ve worked in television nearly all of my professional life, and that statistic is quite sobering to me. And to add injury to my already sensitive nerve endings a picture of Rutina Wesley from True Blood, who attended this year’s Emmys, had a caption that read: “Regina King enters the 62nd Emmys.” No, I wasn’t there. Mistakes happen, right? Well after a few “mistakes” of how people of color are portrayed in the Hollywood media, I decided it was important to say something about how things go down in Hollywood.
The initial pull on my heart strings was not seeing the veteran Sesame Street actress Alaina Reed Hall included in this year’s memoriam. I know I am taking it somewhat personally because of the history I shared with her, but then I stopped to think about the fact that she was on Sesame Street for 12 years, a show that is an American institution. People of all ages and generations have seen and enjoyed this highly influential television show. You have to admit, to not recognize her contribution to television baffles the mind. I first wondered, maybe I had turned my head quickly and missed seeing Alaina’s picture scroll past the screen or she was mentioned later. But no such luck.