The 2017 Emmy Awards were celebrated for maybe their most diverse nominee list in history. Also, Atlanta’s Donald Glover and Lena Waithe made history by winning awards in their respective categories. However, The during their memoriam segment the Television Academy happened to forget to honor comedians Charlie Murphy and Dick Gregory.
Now, someone might read this and say, well this is TV so that might be the reason they were not honored. To that I would say “you must not have watched TV ever in your life.”
Most of Murphy’s career may have been in film, appearing in movies such as CB4, Harlem Nights and Norbit. However, Murphy’s biggest claim to fame was his “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” sketches on the acclaimed Chappelle Show. In those sketches, Murphy recounted hilarious stories involving late legends Prince and Rick James. The skits help make Chapelle Show and Dave Chappelle household names. “I’m Rick James, Bitch” became one of the biggest catch-phrases of the 2004.
Dick Gregory made history by being the first black man to sit on the couch of “Tonight Starring Jack Paar.” Gregory declined to perform on Paar’s show because blacks were never asked to stay and sit on the couch and talk with the host that help catapult careers. By sitting on that couch, Gregory broke a major barrier for blacks in comedy, paving the way for Bill Cosby, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and more getting a shot to show their talent on an national platform.
So the fact that these two men were not honored during the 2017 Emmys is a shame. Gregory paved the way while Murphy’s moments will live forever in pop culture lore. Salute to Donald Glover, Lena Waithe, Sterling K. Brown and other people of color who took home Emmy awards Sunday night but other than that… The Emmy’s gotta take this L.