Hosted almost entirely virtually, the Emmy awards were very unique not only because of their diverse nominees. As with all hidden diversity, sometimes all it takes is a closer look at the nominees to discover how culturally fluid they truly are.
Anthony Anderson’s Hidden Diversity
Anderson received an Emmy nomination this year for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, which is the show Black-Ish. Black-ish is about “A family man [who] struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.”
These kids struggle with getting to know themselves as Black children whose mother is not seen as fully Black. The kids also struggle with comparing themselves to others that they see in their predominantly white neighborhood.
The show follows the family through work life and school life. It also shows how these different culturally diverse environments are treating them.
This show shows cross-cultural kids because they are adapting to other cultures outside of them and within them. The name of the show “Black-ish” shows that there is some sense of a lost identity.
Throughout the show, the character that he portrays speaks up about his identity and the injustices that they face. He also tries to get other cultures to understand him. He also makes sure that his children know who they really are and embrace every part of themselves.
This show somewhat explores the narratives of cross cultural kids and what they go through while they are moving to different areas for a long period of time.
Trevor Noah’s Biracial Identity
Trevor Noah has been nominated for a total of nine Emmys since 2017, and is currently regarded as one of the most successful comedians in Africa. His work in the United States includes writing and hosting for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart since 2014. Noah has also written and performed comedy specials, in addition to documentaries.
While his success in the entertainment industry is commendable and ought not be overlooked, it is his unique upbringing and distinguished cultural fluidity that sets Noah apart from other prevalent entertainers in the industry today.
Born and raised in South Africa, Noah was technically “born a crime” in 1984. Noah was conceived under apartheid, which was essentially a system under which segregationalist policies were heavily enforced throughout South Africa, and didn’t officially end until 1994. Noah’s mother was African, while his father was European. Biracial children were discouraged under apartheid rule, and Noah spent much of his early life fearfully hiding from the police.
Noah rose to fame in South Africa as he learned to incorporate his childhood experiences into his comedic work. He has toured internationally and learned nearly seven languages along the way. Noah has been able to deftly channel his cultural diversity/mobility/ in a way that draws attention to the experience of many CCKs. He has also managed to express the difficulty of such challenges with a comedic air.
Trevor Noah’s presence at the Emmy awards exemplifies the diversifying television industry as a whole. He’s potentially setting the stage for future CCKs and TCKs in the coming decades.
Uzo Aduba’s Cultural Diversity
Nigerian-American actress Uzo Aduba has cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with. With 3 Emmy awards, including the award she won last week at the 72nd Emmy Awards, to her name she is an American Icon.
Born to Nigerian parents who immigrated to the U.S.A, Aduba has not had an easy life. As a third-culture kid, she struggled to find a sense of belonging because of her cultural fluidity.
In an interview with The Improper Bostonian, Aduba said she “went through that struggle when I was a kid. When I was in elementary school the constant mispronunciation and they straight up laughing at your name”.
Like other cross-cultural kids, she straddles her American and Nigerian cultures and her differing nationalities. Aduba managed to process and build upon her cultural mobility as she grew older. She eventually returned “home” to Nigeria where she provides hundreds with access to clean drinking water, as detailed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Aduba is currently starring in the Hulu miniseries, Mrs. America. Shirley Chisolm is the role she plays. The first African-American woamn elected to Congress in the US was Chisholm.
With her successful career in acting and her praise from the Emmy’s in the form of 3 awards, Aduba represents the increasing levels of racial, ethnic, and hidden diversity in the media industry.
Mark Ruffalo’s Cross-Cultural Experiences
Mark Ruffalo, famously known for his role as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) in The Avengers movies, recently won his second Emmy in the 2020 Emmy Awards. He won the Emmy for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role as Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the show I Know This Much is True.
This was Mark Ruffalo’s first time being nominated (and winning) an Emmy award since 2014. Last nominated for his movie The Normal Heart, as a Co-Executive Producer and lead actor. He took home the award for Outstanding Television Movie that year.
But if we look deeper into Ruffalo’s past we can begin to expose his hidden diversity. Raised by an Italian father and a mother of French/Canadian and Italian descent, according to ethnicelebs.com. He was, however, born and raised in the United States of America.
This alone exposed and created meaningful relationships between more than two cultures in Ruffalo’s upbringing, making him a cross-culture kid (CCK). But this is not the only extent to his hidden diversity, as he grew up moving around the United States.
Born in Wisconsin, then he moved to Virginia, and then finally to California where he finished off his adolescent years, according to his biography on IMDB.
He may not be the leading face of diversity in the acting world, but Ruffalo is an amazing example of true hidden diversity within Hollywood.