Most Unapologetically Black Moments From the 2021 Emmy Awards

Celebrating the best of Black culture during television's biggest night.

Tonight (Sept. 19), the 73rd annual Emmy Awards are taking place at the L.A. Live entertainment complex. The show is sure to be filled with exciting moments that will keep viewers entertained, celebrating the best television and streaming shows. All those months of binge watching have finally paid off and we predict the show will highlight the most amazing Black talent in the television industry. 

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Take a look below to see the most unapologetically Black moments (and our favorite) from the night!

Just A Friend 

The opening number started out with a squinty-eyed reaction to host Cedric the Entertainer coming out to the microphone check, one, two, one two, but it wasn't until LL Cool J worked his way through the audience that we started to sway in our seats at home. LL was joined by Billy Porter, Rita Wilson (that's "White Chocolate" aka" Chet Hanks' mama), and several other celebs in a rap performance of "Just A Friend" that turned into a tribute to late rapper Biz Markie. What a remarkable way to open up the 2021 Emmy Awards!    

Everybody Black Better Win

Cedric The Entertainer got the Emmys party started with his opening monologue. As promised, the Neighbors star didn’t use his moment to joke about the members of the audience. Instead, Cedric used his time to highlight “all the Black nominees,” the best in class of vaccines and all the laughs he promises to bring tonight. But yes, in the words of Cedric, Black folks want to see everybody Black win including Martin Lawerence and Sheneneh.

Shout Out To Michael K. Williams

Kerry Washington took a moment to honor late actor Michael K. Williams. Prior to presenting the award for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, the category Williams was nominated in for his role in Lovecraft Country, the Scandal star took a moment to reflect on his legacy.

“Michael was a brilliantly talented actor and generous human being who has left us far too soon,” she said. “Michael, I know you’re here because you wouldn’t miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure. We love you.” 

Say What Now?!?

Robin Thede proved that comedy always has a place at the Emmys. The star and writer of A Black Lady Sketch Show brought the funny as she jokingly reacted with a sour face after Saturday Night Live took home the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. Never to let a moment go unnoticed, Black Twitter has already turned the reaction into a meme and we can't wait to use it when our boss hands down that next assignment. 

Keep Them Dancing

The show may be all about TV but the house DJ, Reggie Watts is keeping things Black when it comes to the music. Watts, who is the band leader for the Late Late Show with James Corden, has featured a variety of tunes from Luther Vandross, Jean Knight, Jason Derulo and more as the host, presenters and winners have made their way to the stage. He has also kept the audience moving in their seats, as the camera captured a few dancing stars.

You've got big dreams?

Debbie Allen took home one of the highest honors of the evening and became the FIRST Black woman to do so. The five-time Emmy award winner accepted the Governor's Award for her achievements on television and stage. She became emotional as she accepted the award and celebrated those she brought with her. 

“It’s taken a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room a lot of times,” said Allen, 71, as she wiped away tears. “A lot of courage and creativity and fight and faith to believe that I could keep going. And I have and I brought a lot of people with me.”

Mama Has Arrived 

RuPaul chalked up another win, taking home a trophy Sunday at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Competition Program for RuPaul’s Drag Race, making history as the most awarded Black artist in Emmy history.

“For you kids out there watching, you have a tribe that is waiting for you. We are waiting for you, baby,” said Ru upon receiving his eleventh Emmy award. 

Ceddy's Got Some Explaining To Do 

It was all laughs when Cedric got cornered backstage by three of his TV wives who all demanded to know which of them was his favorite.

First he told Tichina Arnold, his current TV wife on The Neighborhood, she was his favorite.

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“Hold on,” Niecy Nash, who played his wife Lolli on The Soul Man, interrupted. “I thought I was your favorite!”

Terri J. Vaughn, otherwise known as Lovita from  The Steve Harvey Show, demanded, “I was your original wife.”

The moment was cute, especially when Cedric couldn't decide which one was his favorite and the trio decided to look for hottie Regé-Jean Page instead. 

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