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Donald Glover thanked Donald Trump for his Emmys milestone

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

At Sunday’s Emmy Awards, Donald Glover won two Emmys for his work on Atlanta: one for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, and one for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. In both cases, his win was a milestone.

Only one other black actor has ever won the award for Best Actor in a Comedy: Robert Guillaume, for Benson, in 1985. And no black director has ever won the award for Best Directing in a Comedy.

So when Glover took the stage to accept his second trophy of the night, he was well aware of the enormity of his win — and of the political climate in which he achieved it.

“I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list,” he said. “He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”

It’s true that throughout the night, the Emmys made a point of congratulating themselves for their diversity: There was a montage about the importance of diversity, and while introducing the Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series award, Dave Chappelle declared himself astonished at how many black people he saw in the audience. (“Eleven!”)

But while the television industry has hired more women and people of color over the past few years, people who are not straight white men still remain hugely underrepresented in the industry. As Glover clearly recognizes, his wins mark a huge step forward for television — but they also offer the industry a chance to congratulate itself for singlehandedly defeating systemic racism, when there’s still plenty of work to be done.

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