By Ed Diokno
Diversity – racial, gender, sexual orientation, lifestyle – was threaded throughout the Emmy awards show Sunday night – from the opening monologue by Jimmy Kimmel to the series of awards to actors of color.starting with the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy, won by Ansari Aziz and Alan Wang for their writing in Parents, the episode in Master of None about their parents’ journey to America and the sacrifices they made to make sure their children had better lives.
The diversity at the the Emmy was in stark contrast to the Academy Awards for the motion picture industry that sparked #OscarsSoWhite when no person of color was nominated for its acting awards two consecutive years.
It is the first Emmy for both Ansari and Yang. Yang’s acceptance speech touched on diversity. He said Asian Americans have “a long way to go” in terms of representation in Hollywood, but he believes they can get there. He addressed Asian parents saying that if a few of them could get their kids “cameras instead of violins” then “we’ll be all good.”
Time ran out before Ansari could issue his “thank you’s,”on stage but in interview backstage, he said thanks to his own parents, who played themselves in the episode, “And those people in South Carolina who were mean to my parents — shout out to them!” added Ansari.
The “Parents” episode struck a nerve with a lot of young Asian Americans who saw their own parents in the show.
Both have been outspoken about the lack of diversity among characters on television before, with Ansari having previously called out television network CBS for its lack of diversity. Master of None appears on Netflix
Later in the show, as Ansari presented an award, he joked that he’d be voting for Donald Trump. He suggested that all the Muslim and Hispanic nominees should leave. “Wow, this would be so much easier if we were at the Oscars,” he joked.”America Ferrera, nice try changing your name to America,” Ansari added. “You’re not fooling anybody. You’re out.”
Master of None had previously been recognized by the Critics Award, Peabody Awards and American Film Institute Award.
The Emmy Awards for the television industry reflected the reality of the people of the United States better than the Oscars, but there is still a long way to go. As pointed out by Yang, there are 17 million Asian Americans in the U.S and 17 million Italian Americans. “They have The Godfather, Rocky, Goodfellas, The Sopranos … We have Long Duk Dong,” he said, referring to the stereotypical Sixteen Candles character.
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