Black women are breaking barriers even in this COVID-19 season as Euphoria’s Zendaya made Emmy Awards history over the weekend. She won the coveted prize for lead actress in a drama series and at a show that “rarely honors its youngest nominees.”
The former Disney star is now the youngest winner record holder beating the previous record set by Killing Eve star Jodie Comer, 26. The nominees for the category were Comer and her fellow Killing Eve co-star Sandra Oh, Olivia Colman (The Crown), Laura Linney (Ozark), and everyone’s best friend Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show).
“I want to say thank you to the TV Academy, to all the other incredible women in this category,” Zendaya said while accepting her Emmy from home. “I admire you all so much. This is pretty crazy. I don’t really cry. Thank you, HBO, and A24 for all your support. Thank you to my family and my team … I’m really grateful to have you here.
“To the incredible cast and crew of ‘Euphoria,’ I’m so lucky to go to work with you every day, and I’m inspired by everything you do. And to [creator] Sam Levinson, I appreciate you so much … I’m so grateful for [my character] Rue. I’m so grateful that you trust me with your story. And I hope I can continue to do you proud.”
The 24-year-old portrayed her character in HBO’s dark drama so beautifully that she has been hailed for her impersonation. Her character Rue Bennet is a high schooler struggling with substance abuse and Zendaya gives a chilling performance that gives viewers the creeps in the series while telling Bennet’s story with style and precision.
Sharing in the actress’s joy while celebrating his own achievement was the 21-year-old When They See Us star Jharrel Jerome, who was crowned the youngest actor to win the award for lead actor in a limited series last year.
“I know this feels like a really, really weird time to be celebrating,” Zendaya continued in her speech. “But I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there. I know that our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people.
“And I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets — I see you. I admire you. I thank you, and yeah, thank you so, so much. This is — whoa. OK. Thank you.”
The youngest person to win an Emmy at age 14 was Roxana Zal in 1984 for her lead role in the TV film “Something About Amelia,” a record yet to be broken.