Maya Rudolph Speaks Out After Making History As A Black Woman With Back-To-Back Emmys

Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris on SNL

Many awards shows have been called out for their lack of diversity. After the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending on Twitter in 2015, the public began demanding better representation amongst nominees, winners, presenters and voters. While there’s still a long way to go, some progress has been made in the form of Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph making some Emmy Awards history.

At the 73rd Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Maya Rudolph added to her Legend status by becoming the first person to win back-to-back Emmys in the same category, across two separate categories. She also became the third woman of color to ever win two consecutive Emmys, and the second to do so within the same category. Deadline reported that Maya Rudolph found out about her stunning achievement backstage at the ceremony. Her reaction was, understandably, ecstatic:

Wow that’s amazingI feel honored to be part of something like that. I feel like this Emmy is very fitting in that it’s for something that feels like such a personal achievement. It’s for hosting my childhood love and dream and at a place in my life I finally realized it’s what I do best, and what makes me happiest when I perform. I feel really honored that I’m part of a legacy as the third woman of color to achieve that.

Maya Rudolph won the Emmy awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance in both 2020 and 2021. The former was for her appearances on Saturday Night Live - she guest-starred as Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020 and hosted an episode in 2021 — and the latter award was for her role of Connie the Hormone Monstress in the Netflix original series Big Mouth.

It feels especially fitting that Maya Rudolph made history playing Vice President Kamala Harris, considering that the former California Senator did the same thing when she was elected alongside Joe Biden in 2020. In addition to being the first female and first African-American VP, Kamala Harris became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States government. While it seems incredible that Maya Rudolph could only be the third woman of color to win consecutive Emmys, considering the amount of times some white winners have scored awards, her victory is an important step towards improved representation in the media. To note, Regina King was the first Black woman to win consecutive awards in the same category, for her dual roles in American Crime in 2015 and 2016, while Uzo Aduba won back-to-back Emmys for Orange Is the New Black, but in different categories.

You can hear the voice of Maya Rudolph as the amphibious Daniela in the Pixar animated film Luca, now available to stream on Disney+. She’ll next appear on-screen as antagonist Malvina Monroe alongside Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey in Disenchanted, the highly anticipated sequel to Disney’s Enchanted. The movie musical is also set to hit Disney+ sometime in 2022. Meanwhile, you can tune into the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards when they air on CBS on Sunday, September 19, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.