For Your Consideration: Emmy Reflections
  • Friday, Oct. 16, 2020
Issa Rae in a scene from, “Insecure.” (photo by John P. Fleenor/courtesy of HBO)

With this season’s The Road To Emmy series now squarely in our rearview mirror, this issue of SHOOT takes a look back at a TV awards season like no other during the unprecedented times of a pandemic and society’s reckoning with racial injustice. 

Our feature story includes reflections from Television Academy chairman and CEO Frank Scherma and takes into account a mix of accomplishments on both ends of the continuum--in the spotlight and under the radar.

On that latter front, however, our recap didn’t get into two such achievements that rang out with a special resonance and relevance--namely the winners for Outstanding Original Interactive Program, and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series.

The former honor went to The Messy Truth VR Experience, a virtual reality series designed to build empathy. One episode, for example, puts us in the shoes of a 12-year-old Black lad who’s in a car when he and his dad are unnecessarily pulled over by the police. During night four of the virtual Creative Arts ceremonies, among those accepting the Emmy for The Messy Truth VR Experience was producer/EP Van Jones, a CNN commentator and former Obama administration adviser. Jones noted that he was drawn to the promise of VR primarily for the opportunity to use technology to unite rather than divide people, helping viewers to feel what others from different walks of life experience.

Embracing the power of technology to help generate empathy and understanding can go a long way toward helping to address what ails us. The VR series incorporates Oculus Quest hand-tracking technology that transforms viewers’ hands to match the race and gender of the character whose eyes they are looking through.

The other acceptance speech carrying relevance in today’s times was that of Nena Erb who along with colleague Lynarion Hubbard won the alluded to editing Emmy--for Insecure, the HBO series created by Issa Rae. As an Asian American and person of color, Erb is committed to advancing the stories of others.

In her virtual acceptance speech, Erb said, “You know, none of us is gonna remember who won this award a week from now but being an immigrant and a woman of color, I’ll always remember that Issa made sure I had a seat at the table. This was possible because of her. Thank you.” 

Robert Goldrich is an editor for SHOOTonline.

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