By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Aunjanue Ellis is one of Hollywood’s busiest and most versatile actress, very much in demand for either drama or comedy, films or television. She’s currently starring in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.” But last week her role as Dr. Mattie Moss Clark in Lifetime’s “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” didn’t earn her a Best Actress Emmy nomination in a Limited Series or Television Movie category, even though many in the industry thought she was a lock to get one.
While Ellis hardly needs any validation or recognition at this stage of her career, she was far more disappointed because of what she feels the nomination would have meant to the Clark Sisters. It was a record year for Black Emmy nominees, and Ellis doesn’t want to be perceived taking anything away from that historic achievement.
But she told Essence magazine that “I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that I didn’t want [to be nominated]. The reason why I wanted it is because I wanted it for The Clark Sisters. I wanted to be able to give them the shine that they deserve,” she said. “Because we can sing and dance, we make it look easy. Black women make it look easy and the rest of the world takes it for granted. When it’s done by other folks, we talk about the genius of someone, we talk about their work, we canonize them, we say these are the best of their generation. But we don’t talk about our work in those terms.”
She added that the Clark Sisters are the “embodiment” of that type of genius. “They are as significant as their Bob Dylan, as their Bruce Springsteen. If there is disappointment–and there is disappointment, I’m just going to be honest, and I think it’s right to be transparent about that–it’s because I wanted to honor them with that. And that not happening was disappointing to me because I could not give them that.”