Emmy Awards Historic
Actresses Ayo Edebiri, Quinta Brunson and Niecy Nash-Betts made significant splashes at the 2024 Emmy Awards, each earning statuettes (like the one seen here) for their outstanding work. (Credit: Hans Splinter, Flickr)

It was a great night for Black women at the 2024 Emmy Awards.

The ceremony, which had been postponed due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, delivered a mix of the expected – such as HBO drama “Succession” winning big following its finale – and the unexpected – including a total shut-out for the also-popular HBO video game adaptation of “The Last of Us.”

But the 2024 Emmys also gave us several thrilling, landmark wins for several gifted Black actresses. After five nominations, Niecy Nash-Betts at last received a statuette. And, newer-comers Ayo Edebiri and Quinta Brunson took the top comedy-series prizes – marking the first time in the Emmys’ 75-year history that Black women have swept those two categories. 

Below, we tell you more about the wins, and the women who earned them.

1. Quinta Brunson

Category: Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Brunson’s career began on the internet – a series of popular Instagram shorts led to production and writing work for Buzzfeed. Fast-forward to today, when she’s an acclaimed silver-screen star and officially the second Black actress in Emmys history to win this category (for her nuanced, charming work on ABC hit series “Abbott Elementary,” which Brunson herself created). She did so 42 years after Isabel Sanford won for her performance as Louise “Weezy” Jefferson on “The Jeffersons.”

2. Ayo Edebiri

Category: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
One could argue that “The Bear,” the popular Hulu series set in a chaotic Chicago sandwich shop, isn’t a true comedy. What’s not up for debate, however, is how compelling and natural Edebiri is as an actress. Fresh off of a Golden Globes win for her work portraying kitchen staffer Sydney, she accepted the Emmy with words of gratitude for her family – both blood, and found. “[T]hank you for loving me, and letting me feel beautiful and Black and proud of all of that,” she told her parents. She is the third Black actress to ever win in this category.

3. Niecy Nash-Betts

Category: Supporting Actress in a Limited Series
In her speech, Nash-Betts thanked numerous individuals involved in the making of Netflix’s true-crime anthology “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” in which she portrayed concerned neighbor Glenda Cleveland. Then, she extended her gratitude to two other entities – in what some are calling “one of the greatest Emmy speeches of all time.” She thanked herself “for believing in me,” then pivoted to “every Black and Brown woman who has gone unheard, yet overpoliced.” She named Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor, two victims of deadly police brutality. Then she added, in conclusion: “As an artist, my job is to speak truth to power. And, baby, I’mma do it ’til the day I die.”