Tonight’s Emmys made some serious history.
First up, Jharrel Jerome’s win for When They See Us made him the youngest person to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie as well as the first Afro-Latino to win for acting, Deadline reported.
He beat out other nominees Mahershala Ali (True Detective), Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Jared Harris (Chernobyl) and Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon).
The 21-year-old earned the coveted trophy for his portrayal of the Exonerated Five-member Korey Wise, who, as a teenager, was wrongfully convicted of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili in 1989.
During the young actor’s acceptance speech, he thanked his mother, show creator Ava DuVernay and the five men the limited series was based on.
“I feel like I should just be in the Bronx right now, chilling, waiting for my mom’s cooking or something,” Jerome began.
“But I’m here in front of my inspirations, I’m here in front of people who I’m so motivated by, and the reason I’m here is because [of] actors like the people I was in the category with. I have to thank my mom, who’s with me today, my beautiful mother. I couldn’t do it without her. My dad… of course Ava [DuVernay, creator of the miniseries], thank you for giving me this opportunity, Netflix, my team… But most importantly, this is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five. Raymond [Santana], Yusef [Salaam], Antron [McCray], Kevin [Richardson], and King Korey Wise, thank you so much, it’s an honor, it’s a blessing.”
(Peep how relieved presenter Angela Bassett looked when she opened up that envelope and saw his name)
Backstage, he told the press that he’s glad he can represent Dominicans in the industry.
“It’s a blessing and I hope this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro Latinos. It’s about time we’re here,” adding when he was the youngest to win this award, “well damn, that’s incredible.. kids are smart too.”
When asked about the Academy continuing to award stories that center on Black plain, he replied, “Unfortunately, I think our strongest stories are the stories of pain considering that’s what we go through on a daily basis. It is unfortunate that comedies or light pieces of work aren’t as praised and aren’t sent to the award season.”
“The truth is our pain needs to be told. So if it has to be for the next 20 years where we are just painfully telling our stories until we can move on then I guess it has to be.”
While no Black women took home a statue tonight, we want to celebrate Jharrel and his fearless performance. Continue to make us proud with their talent, spirit, and presence.
#BlackExcellence: Jharrel Jerome Is King Of The Emmys was originally published on hellobeautiful.com