Brow Beat

Lena Waithe and Donald Glover Both Made History at the 2017 Emmys

Talented triple threats Lena Waithe and Donald Glover made Emmy history on Sunday night, becoming the first black woman and first black person respectively to take home awards in their categories. Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (along with Aziz Ansari) for the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None, while Donald Glover became the only black person to have won for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, for Atlanta.

“Thanksgiving”—the acclaimed Master of None episode for which Waithe and Ansari won the award—focused on Waithe’s character Denise, and was based on Waithe’s own experience as a queer black woman going home for Thanksgiving. Not only was she the first to win, she was also the first black woman to ever be nominated for the award.

Ansari let Waithe take center stage. “Let me reclaim my time,” she said to kick things off (and slip in a shoutout to Maxine Waters), and she ended by thanking LGBTQ+ community she represents. “Last but certainly not least, my LGBQTIA family. I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different—those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. Everybody out there that showed us so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago.”

Glover, meanwhile, won for directing the Atlanta episode “B.A.N.” He writes, directs, and stars in the series and was nominated in all three categories. He also took home Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, becoming the first black person to do so since Robert Guillaume in 1985, though he lost the writing award to Waithe and Ansari.

Issa Rae—who was rooting specifically for the black nominees—got her wish.

Read more in Slate about the Emmys.