Despite Hollywood's persistent diversity problem, Sunday night's (September 19) Emmys gave us hope that the tides are gradually turning, at least when it comes to television.
But while some stars of color were celebrated, it was a hollow victory for Latino talent.
This doesn't come as much of a surprise. When the nominations were announced, many hailed the Emmys for finally championing diversity ... after all, 21 non-white actors received major acting nominations, which is a stark contrast from that #OscarsSoWhite BS. Host Jimmy Kimmel even bragged that "this year's nominees are the most diverse ever."
But of those 21 individuals, none of them were Latino. The snub was blatant, and viewers noticed.
Diversity continues to be a buzzword, to the point where Kimmel even joked about it in his opening monologue.
"Here in Hollywood the only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity," Kimmel said, adding that "this is a very positive thing and I think we need to stop and take a moment and appreciate how far we've come."
In 2016, it's pretty sad that we are still having a conversation around the importance of inclusivity, and that we're lagging so far behind. A USC study earlier this year highlighted Hollywood's diversity problem, reveling that only "28.3 percent of characters [on TV] with dialogue were from non-white racial/ethnic groups, though such groups are nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population."
Latinos fared the worst when it comes to underrepresentation on screen. Of the 10,000 characters that were assessed, only 5.8 percent of them were Latino, despite the Latino demographic making up 17 percent of the U.S. population.
One of the study's authors, Stacy L. Smith, told NPR "I think we're seeing, across the landscape, an erasure of certain groups; women, people of color, the LGBT community ... this is really [an] epidemic of invisibility that points to a lack of inclusivity across [film and TV]."
For award shows to truly reflect diversity, more roles must be made available.
Because, as Viola Davis perfectly explained during her acceptance speech last year, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."
The problems are even worse behind the scenes, with many writer and director seats being filled by white males. So while I applaud those who are continuing to make advances in their careers and further the movement for people of color, I recognize that there's still progress to be made. Four acting wins is great, but we can do better.
Last night's lack of Latino representation was just a reminder that inclusion for some is not a victory until we're all invited to the table.