By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Black actors were big winners over the weekend, with Courtney B. Vance, Dave Chappelle, Maya Rudolph and Rupal all getting awards for their various shows. The Creative Emmys were held over the weekend as the lead-in to next Sunday’s Emmy Awards that will be hosted by Cedric The Entertainer, and aired on CBS-TV (locally WTVF-5 Sunday night).

Vance won the Guest Drama Actor award for “Lovecraft Country.” He used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to recently deceased co-star Michael K. Williams. “Michael did everything with his full heart open, with his infinite spirit and with way too much style,” Vance said. “May he rest in power and let us all honor his immense legacy by being a little more love-forward, a little more endless in thought, a little bit more swaggy in act.”

“In my mind and in my spirit, it doesn’t make sense [that] something that successful [as] that show was that the powers that be could not figure it out,” Vance added. “I’m sad for audiences that, like ‘Game of Thrones,’ we don’t get to see seven years, eight years of following these characters and learning more about the time period and learning about our people and the struggles and where Misha’s mind was going to go. That’s very painful for me as a fan and me as an actor.”

Chappelle won the guest comedy actor Emmy for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” It was Chappelle’s second win in the guest comedy actor category, but his fifth Emmy win over all. He previously took the trophy in this category in 2017 for his first time hosting the late-night NBC sketch comedy show. He also has multiple variety special (pre-recorded) statues for stand-up specials “Equanimity” in 2018 and “Stick & Stones” in 2020, the latter for which he also earned a variety special writing Emmy.

Rudolph won a second consecutive guest comedy actress Emmy for “Saturday Night Live,” just hours after she picked up her second consecutive character voice-over performance Emmy.

In 2020, Rudolph won guest comedy actress for appearing as then-Sen. Kamala Harris in the Eddie Murphy-hosted episode of NBC’s late-night sketch comedy series. This time, however, her statue is for portraying a number of characters, including a return to Beyoncé, in the Season 46 episode she hosted. 

Rudolph also won again for Netflix’s animated comedy “Big Mouth,” on which she plays Connie, the Hormone Monster. Specifically this year she won for the episode titled “A Very Special 9/11 Episode.” Rudolph becomes only the second woman of color and the fourth person of color overall to pick up back-to-back acting wins in the same category from the Television Academy. Bill Cosby was the first to achieve this, with consecutive lead drama actor wins for “I Spy” in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Charles S. Dutton became the second, winning a guest drama actor statue in 2002 for “The Practice” and then the same race in 2003 for “Without A Trace.” Regina King was the first woman to do this, winning the supporting limited series/TV movie actress race first in 2015 and then again in 2016, both times for “American Crime.”

 RuPaul Charles won the host for a reality or competition program (“Rupal’s Drag Race”) for a sixth consecutive time. He has now tied the record for the most Emmy wins by a person of color (tied with cinematographer Donald A. Morgan). 

The show won four during the Sunday afternoon Creative Arts Emmys ceremony. “Drag Race” nabbed the win for directing a reality program (for Nick Murray). which “Drag Race” had last won in 2018 (last year it went to Netflix’s “Cheer”). “RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked” won the unstructured reality category. It additionally repeated its casting for a reality program win, which it also picked up last year, as well as picture editing for a structured reality or competition show (another repeat from 2020). So the franchise has won five this year so far.