Black Actors Make Tony Awards History

Tony Awards   Black Actors Make Tony Awards History
 
For the first time in the history of the Tony Awards, all four major musical acting categories were won by actors of color.
Tonys History HR
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

History was made June 12 at the 70th Annual Tony Awards when all four musical acting categories were won by actors of color.

Three of the wins went to the stars of the Broadway hit Hamilton, which won a total of 11 Tony Awards: Daveed Diggs (Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical); Renée Elise Goldsberry (Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical); and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical); along with Cynthia Erivo, who took home the prize for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.

Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo Joseph Marzullo/WENN

“Hi, Mommy, look!” a tearful Erivo exclaimed to her mother standing in the crowd. The Tony winner made her Broadway debut in The Color Purple and through ongoing tears thanked director John Doyle, the producers, author Alice Walker and her entire cast. “To every single person in my cast, you are magnificent,” she told them. “Thank you so much for lifting me up when I’m tired, for holding my hand when I’m happy, for kissing me on my forehead when you know I just need some love.”

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Odom, Jr. delivered a moving and grateful speech to his fellow cast members in Hamilton. “I want to tell you something: You are extraordinary in every way. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise,” he said after accepting the award. “You are limitless. I thank you for the fidelity of your friendship; I almost didn’t make it here. I almost fell. And everywhere I looked, there was a Renée, there was a Phillipa…I thank you so much, I wouldn’t be here without you.”

“Lin-Manuel, God bless you, Man,” the actor continued, referring to Hamilton creator and co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda. “You’ve given us a new vision of what’s possible. I thank God for your mission. I thank God for the calling on your life.”

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In an emotional speech, Goldsberry also thanked the entire cast. “I would like to thank the entire company of Hamilton,” she said. “When one of us wins, we all win because we are one.”

“I have been praying my entire life for the opportunity to stand in front of the world and say thank you to my parents, who are here tonight,” the star also stated.

Diggs was another Hamilton star who thanked his parents, for giving him permission to be different and always supporting him. He recounted a memory from pre-school in which he performed a gymnastics routine with his dad in matching rainbow tights.

For a full recount of the 70th Annual Tony Awards visit: Hamilton Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins

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