The Music Branch of the Television Academy is leading the way in rewarding diversity. Forty-six percent of all this year’s nominees in the music categories are women, people of color, or both.
Nine of the 41 nominees, or 22%, are women; 13 of the 41, or almost a third, are people of color. While the female contingent is down slightly from last year (27% were women), the percentage of POC is up (from one-fifth of nominees last year).
Female composers are nominated in five of the seven music categories; people of color, in six of seven. This is a near complete repudiation of the white male power structure enacted in the studio for decades that kept women and the POC from vying for top gigs.
Academy officials are thrilled.
Music Governors Jeff Russo and Sherri Chung released this statement to Variety“We are very pleased with the representation in this year’s list of nominees. It’s not only a great testament to the importance of diversity and inclusion within our music community, but it’s also an example of how our industry has taken steps to seek out new voices. to meet the demand for increased content creation.
Siddhartha Khosla has become the first South Asian composer – and indeed a rare example of a composer – to be nominated in three categories: score for a series and main theme (both for Hulu’s “Only Murders In the Building”) and song (“This Is Us” by NBC).
Terence Blanchard, one of America’s most prominent black songwriters, received his first Emmy nomination for the Apple+ documentary “They Call Me Magic.” Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih has been recognized for the music of the Marvel series “Moon Knight”, and British-Indian composer Nainita Desai has won awards for the Netflix documentary “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible”.
Chilean-born Cristobal Tapia de Veer received two nominations (limited series score and main title theme) for “The White Lotus,” and South Korean composer Jung Jae-il was nominated for his theme for ” Squid Game” – to say nothing of the twin song nominations for Zendaya and Labrinth for “Euphoria”, Rickey Minor’s two nominations for musical direction on “The Kennedy Center Honors” and Adam Blackstone’s third nomination for direction musical from a Super Bowl halftime show.
Natalie Holt earned two nominations for “Loki” (series score, main title theme), Jessica Jones one for “The Tindler Swindler,” and no less than four women were among the seven nominees for Music Supervision (Jen Malone for “Euphoria,” Robin Urdang for “Wonderful Mrs. Maisel,” Nora Felder for “Strange Things,” Janet Lopez for “The White Lotus”).
“The industry as a whole is making a concerted effort to turn the tide,” Russo says (“Star Trek: Discovery”). “There are just more women, more people of color, doing these gigs, and they are doing a wonderful job. The Academy recognizes the great work; this is what we do.”
Surprisingly, Russo says he expected it. “Not as governor, but as a songwriter and someone who voted, I saw what was happening. We’re thrilled.”
Chung (“Kung Fu”), the Academy’s first female music governor, adds, “For someone like me, who is a woman and a person of color, it’s amazing to see the representation change. The industry has opened up to less heard voices.
“Having different stories – and a diversity of directors, writers, producers and showrunners – lends itself to allowing new voices to be heard on the music side. For me, it is an example of becoming aware of the need, but also of the creative necessity. It’s a fantastic example of what our industry as a whole does – our awareness, drive and desire to celebrate good work, no matter who creates it.
Raashi Kulkarni, Executive Director of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, adds, “It’s an exciting time when once underrepresented artists from different backgrounds are beginning to gain recognition in our industry. While there is still work to be done, efforts are being made to showcase and celebrate diverse talents and perspectives.