John Leguizamo Urges Emmy Voters to Avoid ‘White Wash’ of Awards

John Leguizamo attends premiere of Amazon Prime Video series The Power at DGA Theater in New York on March 23, 2023. (Credit: Shutterstock)

John Leguizamo is determined to see more diversity when the nominations for the Emmy Awards are announced next month.

The actor took home an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1999, for his one-man show titled Freak.

More than two decades later, Leguizamo says Emmy voters have traditionally recognized too few artists of color.

Also Read: Larenz Tate Thinks Hollywood Places ‘More Value’ on Black British Actors Than Black American Artists

The actor, producer and director wrote an open letter to the Television Academy, which hands out the Emmys.

The letter was published as a full-page ad in the print edition of the New York Times on Sunday, June 9, and Leguizamo shared a copy of the ad on social media.

He captioned the post: “I know everyone is exhausted about inclusion but not us who are not included. So that’s why I took this add out in the NYTimes. White peoples are only 58.9% of the population but over represented in top positions across the board. They are the decision makers in tech, banking, corporations, medicine and streamers and Hollywood! America is better when it is inclusive. It is more profitable. It is more creative! Let’s not give up. I’m still woke! Are you?”

“Dear Hollywood, please let this be the year we finally embrace change,” the letter began. “The year we truly find equity and see artists of color represented across not just one category but ALL categories.”

Leguizamo continued, “I know you’re tired of hearing words like ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’ — treading water while you try to understand how to put actions behind these sentiments. Look no further! It’s simple! There are hundreds of prolific non-white artists who deserve to be considered for awards this year, not because they are simply … Black, Brown, Indigenous, or Asian, but because they are truly great … exceptional artists who have achieved that greatness with a foot on their neck for far too long.”

Voting for the Primetime Emmys begins on June 13, with the nominations scheduled to be announced on July 17. The awards will be handed out on Sept. 15.

Leguizamo concluded, “Let us not continue to white wash our Awards shows. Instead let this year be the catalyst that inspires the Next Generation of minority and underrepresented artists… a generation who might finally see a reflection of themselves on that stage and think…”

He signed the letter: “Your peer, John Leguizamo, Writer, Actor, Producer, Director and Colombian American who won’t ever let anyone tell him ‘no.'”

Leguizamo, 63, was born in Colombia and has been working in Hollywood since the 1980s.

He’s had roles on TV in Miami Vice, The Brothers Garcia, ER, My Name Is Earl, Bloodline, and When They See Us, as well as the films Carlito’s Way (1993), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), Summer of Sam (1999), Moulin Rouge! (2001) and the John Wick franchise.

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