With the announcement of the 2022 Primetime Emmy Award nominations came big news for stars like Sheryl Lee Ralph, who secured her first-ever Emmy nomination after nearly 50 years in the industry, Zendaya, who became the youngest-ever 2-time nominee (and already one-time winner!) for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and Quinta Brunson, who made history as the first Black woman to earn three nominations in the comedy category in the same year for Abbott Elementary.
But even with these amazing highs, naturally, some outstanding content from Black creators still managed to be overlooked by the Television Academy. From solid seasons of drama and comedy to stellar performances from top-tier talent, there were a number of standouts that somehow failed to hit the Emmys’ radar.
THIS IS US — The Train Episode 617 — Pictured: (l-r) Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Take a look at some of the most shocking snubs of the 2022 Primetime Emmys.
The stakes were higher than ever in the penultimate 5th season of this drug-fueled drama, following the rise of the crack epidemic and simultaneously a fledgling LA drug lord in the early 1980s with layered performances and expertly interwoven storylines.
Damson Idris, Snowfall
With a child on the way and the world at his feet, crack boss Franklin Saint (Idris) has allegiances, alliances, and personal motivations tested. With the feds now interested in cracking down on drugs and his community steadily falling into disarray, he is finally forced to face himself – somewhat literally – and examine if the ends of his efforts are truly worth the means.
This Is Us (NBC)
The final season of the wildly popular show saw the themes of parenthood, love, divorce, reconciliation, generational ties, and death explored as the Pearson family moved into their next chapter and the Big Three said final goodbyes to their mother Rebecca.
Susan Kelechi Watson, This Is Us
The actress not only expertly portrayed Beth Pearson across several decades and life changes, but this season, wrote “Our Little Island Girl Pt. III,” perhaps one of the character’s most defining episodes.
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Over the show’s six seasons, Brown expertly took the character of Randall through the gamut of emotions from mental health and identity crises to holding the weight of being a husband and father while juggling a heightened sense of responsibility in his career and immediate family.
Peacock’s breakout hit reimagining of the 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air pleasantly surprised fans with its more serious look at the all-too-real issues that led Will to live with his rich extended family and the social adjustments and family conflicts he faces once he moved from the projects to the upper crust.
Olly Sholotan, Bel-Air
Sholotan’s tortured turn as Carlton Banks – anxiety-ridden, unsure, and suffering with drug addiction – turned what fans knew of the happy-go-lucky, snapping & shuffling, out-of-touch yet well-meaning son of privilege completely on its head.
Jabari Banks, Bel-Air
Whereas so many young actors may have gotten their hands on the role of Will in a reimagining of The Fresh Prince and did some amalgamation of impressions of Will Smith circa 1995, Banks has managed to bring a new Will to life – one that is a bit jaded and world-weary, eager to prove himself “a man” by the narrow standards of his community, yet infectiously charismatic and open-hearted.
Marlon Wayans, Bel-Air
Wayans’ dramatic turn as Will’s father Lou on Bel-Air‘s first season could have easily earned him a nod for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series. In a few short yet palpably tense scenes, the viewer feels as though they know all they need to about Will’s absentee father, yet also nothing at all, as he angrily clashes with the son he left behind and the family that stepped in to raise him.
DESUS & MERO (SHOWTIME)
The traditional late-night format is turned on its side with a Bronx-flavored twist, featuring nothing but illustrious guests. Hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero add their Black millennial two cents to the hottest topics and buzziest viral clips, then take their guests out of the suited-up-behind-a-desk element and bring them down to the local bodega for nontraditional interviews and unconventional conversations.
PAUSE with Sam Jay (HBO Max)
Comedian Sam Jay flips the concept of late-night comdey by deep-diving directly into divisive cultural conversations at a weekly cocktail house party with her fellow comedian friends, punctuated by irreverent skits and interviews with experts. Everything from addiction to infidelity, to intersectionality, is explored via accounts from people with firsthand experience and segments that expertly illustrate the topic under the microscope.
The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock)
While Ruffin’s late-night comedy show features the typical monologue mixed with skit-segment format we’ve grown accustomed to via mainstream late night, her uniquely Black spin on sociopolitical issues that still manages to dig up humor through harsh truths make this just-before-bed streaming fare particularly special.
Top Boy (Netflix)
Now in its second season (or technically fourth, if you’re a diehard fan), Top Boy finds longtime frienemies and drug kingpins running the streets of London and managing their ever-growing empire, while challenges seem to come from all angles in the form of rivalries, supply chain difficulties, family dramas, and mounting repercussions from their previous actions when scrapping for position and power.
Kane Robinson, Top Boy
Robinson gives a layered performance as Sully is pulled out of his self-inflicted exile/retirement when his niece comes to him with a crisis. After his former friend Dushane comes to his assistance, he must reconcile his grudges and gauge his allegiances to himself, his family, his word, and the London drug game.
Ashley Walters, Top Boy
Dushane is finally at the top of the drug game after years of toiling to gain position. But now that he’s the big boss, family connections suffer and his loved ones are constantly in danger. Eager to legitimize his cash beyond selling “food,” he must first fend off threats facing his footsoldiers and others coming directly from those who were once his closest associates – on top of avoiding a constantly gaining police investigation.
Rothaniel (HBO Max)
Though Charmichael earned a nod for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his SNL Season 47 hosting gig, his hilarious yet highly introspective standup examining family secrets and hidden personal truths was criminally overlooked in the Best Pre-Recorded Variety Special category.
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Esposito has been effortlessly killing the role of chicken chain CEO and cold-hearted methamphetamine magnate Gus Fring since the original Breaking Bad. But in the latest season of the drug drama’s prequel spinoff, the veteran actor is visibly evolving into the even more hardened character we come to know him as later in the story.