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By Valerie Wu
“Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson is hosting the 75th annual Primetime Emmys on Jan. 15. The Compton native, who has received 11 Emmy nominations himself for his work on “Black-ish,” is no stranger to the primetime awards show.
Anderson starred as father and advertising executive Andre “Dre” Johnson on the ABC sitcom “Black-ish,” which ran from 2014 to 2022 and followed the Johnsons, a Black family navigating life in a wealthy, white neighborhood. Anderson received seven consecutive lead actor Emmy nominations for his role on the show. In addition to serving as executive producer on “Black-ish,” Anderson also executive produced its spinoff series, “Grown-ish,” which follows the Johnsons’ children.
“Anthony is such a professional. Anthony knows everybody’s name. Anthony makes work a fun and wonderful place to be that feels like home. And it’s who he is,” Anderson’s “Black-ish” co-star Tracee Ellis Ross said of him in an interview with Variety celebrating the end of “Black-ish.” Ross played Anderson’s onscreen wife, Rainbow, for all eight seasons of the show.
“What’s crazy with our show and just having that fan base, is it’s one of the few shows that’s on broadcast television right now, probably television period, that an entire family can sit down and watch and enjoy,” Anderson said about “Black-ish” in a 2017 Variety Actors on Actors conversation with Kaley Cuoco. “And it’s interesting because of the success of our show, [the rest of the cast and I] kind of were at the forefront of having other minorities tell their stories, with ‘Cristela,’ with ‘Fresh Off the Boat,’ with ‘Uncle Buck,’ and other shows that have come along since then. Because of the success of ‘Black-ish,’ these shows have become successful. We’ve opened up the door for them and they kicked the door off its hinges and just shot to the top on their own.”
Beyond his work on “Black-ish,” the 53-year-old Anderson has had a number of other notable television roles: as series regular Detective Kevin Bernard in “Law & Order,” as a father in the Jimmy Fallon sitcom “Guys With Kids” and as struggling actor Anthony Anderson in the sitcom “All About the Andersons.” He’s also served as a judge on “Iron Chef America,” as a host of the Food Network series “Eating America With Anthony Anderson” and “Carnival Cravings with Anthony Anderson,” and as a fill-in host for Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden and Ellen DeGeneres. Currently, he’s hosting Fox’s game show “We Are Family” with his mother, Doris Bowman.
Anderson has long been a champion of onscreen representation, expressing that he “never wanted to be just an actor,” but a changemaker in a 2015 op-ed he penned for Variety. In the column, Anderson argued that Black creatives must tell their own stories for themselves.
“When you look at America as a whole, everyone from every walk of life is living in this melting pot, but when you look at television, it isn’t a true or complete representation of what our society is,” Anderson wrote. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to not depend on anyone. We have to tell our stories ourselves … that’s where the power comes from.”
Now, Anderson will take center stage at the Emmys.
“With our industry’s recent challenges behind us, we can get back to what we love — dressing up and honoring ourselves,” Anderson said recently about hosting the Emmys. “And there’s no better celebratory moment to bring the creative community together than the milestone 75th Emmy Awards. When Fox asked me to host this historic telecast, I was over the moon that Taylor Swift was unavailable, and now I can’t wait to be part of the biggest night in television.”
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