It was a historic night at the Primetime Emmy Awards for RuPaul, who broke the record for most Emmy wins by a person of colour, after winning his 11th Emmy for RuPaul’s Drag Race; taking home the trophy for Outstanding Competition Program.
Joined onstage by Michelle Visage, season 13 winner Symone, and finalist Gottmik, RuPaul, 60, told the audience, “Thanks to all of our lovely children on our show from around the world. You know, they are so gracious to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life, even more difficult today. This is for you. And for the kids out there watching: You have a tribe that is waiting for you. We are waiting for you, baby: come on to Mama Ru.”
"Come on to mamma Ru!" 💚
— Hulu (@hulu) September 20, 2021
RuPaul, had earlier won two other Emmys for RuPaul’s Drag Race at the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony held on September 12; Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program and Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. The win for his hosting duties was his sixth straight win in that category, and as such notched another historic marker for RuPaul.
#EmmysSoWhite Trends After Awards
— Macman4ever (@macman4ever) September 20, 2021
The 2021 Emmy Award nominations made headlines when they were announced on July 13, when the nominee list included a record 49 performers of non-Anglo origin in acting and reality host categories. The nominations also included a number of out actors including Samira Wiley for The Handmaid’s Tale, Bowen Yang for SNL, Jonathan Groff for Hamilton, and Hannah Einbinder and Carl Clemons-Hopkins for Hacks.
The nominee list also included a historic nomination for Mj Rodriguez, who as the star of FX’s Pose, became the first-ever transgender actor to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Rodriguez, who played Blanca, lost to Olivia Colman for The Crown.
Pose racked up a total of nine nominations for its third and final season, including nods for Billy Porter for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Drama Series.
With white actors having swept the drama, comedy and limited series acting categories at this year’s televised ceremony, #EmmysSoWhite was soon trending on Twitter.
Queer Nominees, Presenters Make A Splash
Live, work, pose! Billy Porter and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez have arrived on the #Emmys red carpet.
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) September 19, 2021
The ceremony did feature a number of out performers as presenters, including Dan Levy, joined by the rest of the Schitt’s Creek cast, SNL’s Bowen Yang, and Sarah Paulson from Ratched.
Other LGBTQ+ fan favourites who took home awards included the indomitable Jean Smart who took the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Hacks.
Ewan McGregor won Best Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for his titular role in Halston produced by Ryan Murphy.
At the earlier Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, the fifth season of Queer Eye won for outstanding structured reality program, although the five hosts lost to RuPaul as Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.
Kerry Washington took a moment before handing out the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, to pay tribute to Michael Kenneth Williams, who passed away on September 6, 2021.
GLADD tweeted that Williams was “a possibility model for so many young, Black gay and queer kids to see themselves on screen played with so much life, love and passion.” Williams had become well known for his Queer roles in The Wire, and Lovecraft Country.
LGBTQ+ actors also made a splash on the Emmy red carpet, with perennial runway favourite Billy Porter in Ashi Couture, Carl Clemons-Hopkins from Hacks in Christian Siriano, Mj Rodriguez in Atelier Versace, and The Crown’s Emma Corrin in Miu Miu.