Quinta Brunson and “Abbott Elementary” Make Emmys History

by Kesean Cleveland
Quinta Brunson and “Abbott Elementary” Make Emmys History
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Quinta Brunson and her show “Abbott Elementary” have re-written history when it comes to the Emmys.

Brunson is now the first Black woman to earn three nominations in the comedy categories in the same year. Brunson received nominations for outstanding comedy series, lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series (for the “Pilot”).  At 32, Brunson is also the youngest Black woman ever nominated in the comedy acting category.

The show airs on ABC and is a mockumentary about an underfunded public school in her home town of Philadelphia. On top of creating the show, Brunson plays the show’s main character, Janine Teagues, a second grade teacher at Abbott Elementary, a fictional predominately Black school. The show focuses on the misadventures of a group of public educators trying their best to teach kids in a deeply flawed school system.

The show has been a critical and commercial success. Ratings have quadrupled since the show first aired in December 2021. Brunson is currently working on writing the show’s second season, 6ABC reported.

abbot elementary

Writer, creator, and star Quinta Brunson (center) named the early hit after her middle-school teacher Ms. Abbott.

Abbott Elementary shows no signs of slowing down

In addition to Brunson’s nominations, both Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard, and Janelle James, who plays principal Ava Coleman, are nominated for supporting actress in a comedy series. Tyler James Williams, who plays the substitute first grade teacher Gregory Eddie, is nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy. The show has also earned an Emmy nomination for its casting.

Brunson took to Twitter to congratulate the cast of the show. 

The comedy categories for lead actress and writing each only have had one Black woman winner in the Emmys’ 74-year history. Isabel Sanford won in 1981 for her role as Louise in CBS’ “The Jeffersons” while Lena Waithe won alongside co-writer Aziz Ansari, in 2017 for Netflix’s “Master of None.”

The 74th Emmys are set to air on NBC at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12. This year’s host has not been announced yet.

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