Post Awards Season Quiz: Black Hollywood Firsts
Who was the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing?
It was at the 69th Emmy Awards in 2017 when Lena Waithe won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the "For Thanksgiving" episode of Master of None.
Which actress was one half of the first interracial couple on primetime network television?
The Jeffersons (1975-1985) actress Roxie Rocker starred as Helen Willis alongside Franklin Cover (Tom Willis) as the first interracial couple on primetime network television. Another fun fact about Roker is that she is the mother of Lenny Kravitz.
Who was the first Black person to run a cable news network?
Rashida Jones is the president of the cable news network MSNBC, succeeding Phil Griffin on February 1, 2021. Jones is the first Black woman to lead a cable news network. (Wikipedia)
Who was the first Black person to host a nationwide television show?
Nat King Cole was the first black person to host a nationwide show. Another Emmy nominated actress was the first to host her own show but the aptly titled 'The Nat 'King' Cole Show', the variety show ran for one season on NBC in 1956.
Who is the only Black female entertainer to have an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)?
Having acted in over 150 films, Goldberg is one of the few people to achieve the EGOT, having won the four major American awards for professional entertainers: an Emmy (Television), a Grammy (Music), an Oscar (Film), and a Tony (Theater). She is the only black woman to have achieved all four awards. (Wikipedia)
Who was the first Black late-night talk show host?
Just one year after co-starring in the hit film ‘Coming to America’, comedian Arsenio Hall broke late-night barriers by becoming the first Black late-night talk show host. ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’, which ran until 1994, became a breakout success and helped him to become a pop culture icon. (Essence)
Who was the first Black person to win a Primetime Emmy?
Ethel Waters was the first woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy for her groundbreaking show "The Ethel Waters Show' but it was eight years later, in 1970 when Gail Fisher won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Drama for the show ‘Mannix’.
Who was the first Black person to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards?
Suzanne de Passe was nominated for 'Lady Sings the Blues' at the 1973 Academy Awards. De Passe shared the nomination with co-writers Chris Clark and Terence McCloy. She was the first African-American nominee for Best Writing (Original Screenplay), the first African-American woman nominated for screenwriting, and the first African-American woman nominated for Best Writing. Lonne Elder was nominated the same year for Best Adapted Screenplay for 'Sounder'. But it wasn't until 2017 that Jordan Peele won the award for Best Orginal Screenplay for 'Get Out'.
Who was the first Black person to win an Academy Award?
Hattie Mc Daniel first African American person to win and be nominated for an Academy Award at the 12th annual Academy Awards in 1940 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 'Gone with the Wind'.
Who was the first Black person to star in a TV drama?
Though controversial, Cicely Tyson’s role on the CBS drama ‘East Side/West Side’ has become historic. Starring as secretary Jane Foster, the celebrated actress appeared in 22 out of the 26 episodes of the show running from 1963 to 1964. Bill Cosby, starring as Alexander “Scotty” Scott, made history as the first Black actor to have a leading role in a television series with ‘I Spy’. The one-hour drama adventure series, which was Cosby’s first television role, ran for three seasons on NBC and earned him three Primetime Emmy Awards from 1966 to 1968. (Essence)
Who was the first Black woman to win a Best Actress Academy Award?
Although Black actresses were nominated in the Best Actress category beginning in 1954 with Dorothy Dandridge playing the role of Carmen Jones in the film of the same title, Halle Berry was the first to win the award for 'Monsters Ball' in 2002 at the 74th Academy Awards. Eighteen years later she is still the only Black woman to hold the title.
Who is the only Black male entertainer to have an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)?
John Legend is the only Black male entertainer to hold the multi-award honor of EGOT. Know mostly for his songwriting and musical endeavors he completed the superfecta in 2018 when he won an Emmy for producing 'Jesus Christ Superstar' which won the Outstanding Live Variety Special award. He’s now in the company of Whoopi Goldberg. Who both have competitive EGOTs. However, stars like Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte have also EGOT-ed, but with non-competitive honorary awards.
Who was the first Black person to star in their own television show?
If you’re not familiar with her name, actress and singer Ethel Waters is someone you should do a little research on. Though she got her start in the 1920s singing blues, it was her 1962 Emmy nomination that helped her make history. Along with becoming the first Black woman to ever be nominated for the award, Waters — contrary to popular belief — became the first African-American to star in her own television show, ‘The Ethel Waters Show’, in 1939. (Essence)
Who was the first Black director to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award?
In 1991—not even 30 years ago—John Singleton became the first-ever African American to be nominated by the Academy for Best Director, for his work on the seminal South Central, LA drama 'Boyz N the Hood'. With the nod, the then 24-year-old Singleton also became the youngest nominee ever in the category—a record still unbroken today. In 2019, Singleton went on to direct films like Poetic Justice and Rosewood, as well television series including Empire, American Crime Story, and Snowfall. Singleton died tragically in 2019 as a result of a stroke at the age of 51. (New York Film Academy)
Which Black director has never won the award for Best Director at the Academy Awards but is the only Black director to receive an honorary Academy Award for their work in the industry?
In 1989, there was some expectation that filmmaker Spike Lee would be the first African American to earn a Best Director nomination for his work on Do the Right Thing. Lee earned an honorary Oscar in 2016, and didn’t earn a nod in that category until 2019 when he was finally recognized for his film BlackKlansman, starring John David Washington and Adam Driver. A Hollywood icon who many filmmakers and especially those of color have cited as an influence, Lee has earned multiple nominations over the years, but it was for BlackKlansman that he finally earned his first non-honorary Oscar—for Best Adapted Screenplay. (New York Film Academy)
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