Anthony Anderson on Diversity in Hollywood: 'We Want To Be Included'

Photo by Mike Coppola
The Emmy-nominated actor gets real about the importance of inclusion on the small screen

Diversity is a start but the real American dream is inclusion.

“People always talk about diversity but what we really want is to be included,” said actor Anthony Anderson at his pre-Emmys brunch this past weekend in Hollywood.

“Sometimes, you have to make them include you and create your own opportunities. That’s what Kenya Barris and I did in creating Black-ish. I also love the inclusion we have in our writer’s room and behind the camera. 

The ABC comedy, which is entering its third season next week, has been nominated for three Emmys including Anderson’s nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy. Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays his wife on Black-ish, also nabbed a nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy category. The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards airs Sunday on ABC.

In addition to Anderson, Ross and Barris, the diversity event boasted a guest list filled with Black Emmy winners and nominees including Joe Morton, Jackee Harry, Lynn Whitfield, Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown and Keegan-Michael Key.

Other attendees included Malcolm Jamal Warner, Khandi Alexander, Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Lou Diamond Phillips and Subscribe to ESSENCE's daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.

As for Anderson, although he was nominated last year in the same category this year means more, he said.

“Getting nominated this year let me know they didn’t make a mistake the first time,” Anderson, 46, joked. “It was great seeing my name and Tracee’s name up there but even better than our individual nominations is the nomination for the show.”

Critics and fans alike trumpeted the comedy’s second season particularly the episode titled “Hope,” which tackled race relations and police brutality in America.

“People responded because the episode reflected the reality in which we live,” Anderson said. “It’s a reality where Kenya and I came from and I’ve been a victim of police brutality. That’s the beauty of Black-ish. We go to what is authentic and when people of all races watch our show and say they see themselves, there is no higher compliment.”

Last year, when Anderson attended the Emmys, he took his son Nathan, who is now 16. But this year, Anderson is shaking things up.

“I’m taking my daughter,” the proud father of two said. His daughter, Kyla, is 20. “She couldn’t go last year because she’s in college so I took my son but this year I’m taking her. She asked me and made sure of that. Now we just have to get her dress.”

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards airs Sunday Sept. 18 at 7 pm ET on ABC. Black-ish season three premieres Wednesday Sept. 21 at 9:30 ET on ABC.

Read More