Black History in Television & Film: The Greats Who Made “Scandal” Possible

By  |  194 Comments
From ABC's "Scandal"

From ABC’s “Scandal”

“Scandal” is not only the latest craze in television but also black history in the making. As the star of the show, Kerry Washington is the first African-American female lead on a primetime show in about forty years. This enrapturing television series faithfully watched by millions of diverse nationalities country is the brainchild of award-winning screenwriter and executive producer Shonda Rhimes – also an African American. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” are also the products of Rhimes’ imagination. This Golden Globe winner even had a writing hand in Walt Disney’s “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.” None of the latter would be possible, however, if African Americans of years past had not charted new territory in the entertainment industry for those who would follow them. Let us take a look at some of the black history makers who made possible our colorful entertainment of today.

A huge step was taken by Hattie McDaniel in 1939 when she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.” Black Enterprise reports that she was the very first African American to win this title. Although prevalent discrimination left her only having screen credit for about 80 of the 300 films she went on to be cast in, her Oscar achievement served as a victory for African Americans as a whole in the entertainment industry.

The next prominent African-American actor to leave his mark in entertainment was Sidney L. Poitier. In 1963, he was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. According to Black Enterprise, he earned the title at the age of 37 for his role of Homer Smith in “Lilies of the Field.” Prior to this achievement, he had already begun molding history by making numerous lead appearances in classic American films such as “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “Porgy and Bess,” and “The Defiant Ones.”

1965 is when doors really began to open up for African Americans on camera. As indicated by, it was during this year that Bill Cosby became the first black actor to co-star in a television series. In NBC’s “I Spy,” Cosby played the role of Alexander Scott – the trainer for professional athlete Kelly Robinson. Even more notable is the fact that Cosby won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor over his co-star for three years straight. Yet, this Emmy winner’s contributions to entertainment do not stop here. Arguably his most valuable mark on television entertainment history is “The Cosby Show” which ran for about 8 years. This show is most known for changing the way America viewed African-Americans and their families by portraying the famous Huxtable family as highly educated upper class professionals.  Beyond The Cosby Show, however, Bill is also known for his children’s cartoons featuring positive messages and starring African-American youth – “Little Bill” and “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.”

On the note of children’s animations, Cosby’s achievements certainly served as stepping stones for Peter Ramsey. HuffPost Black Voices reports that this African-American gentleman recently made history as the first black man to direct a major animated film – “Rise of the Guardians.” Adding to the excitement and history is the fact that this children’s animated film has been nominated for a Golden Globe award.

Although Hattie McDaniel, Sidney L. Poitier, and Bill Cosby are not all directly related to the television shows and films of today that we know and love, it certainly took brave individuals like them to step into and change an industry largely unwelcome to African-Americans. Because of their determination and passion in days of old, however, we are able to sit down with our loved ones and enjoy shows like “Scandal” and films like “Rise of the Guardians.”


The founder of Your Black PoetsAyvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here.


  1. linda

    February 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

    loved this article.

  2. Pingback: generic albuterol inhaler

  3. Pingback: sildenafil generic

  4. Pingback: erection pills online

  5. Pingback: erection pills


    May 23, 2020 at 3:07 am

    Hi brilliant blog! Does track a blog similar to this ask a monumental total oeuvre?
    I’ve perfectly no expertness in estimator scheduling
    notwithstanding I was hoping to part my possess blog before long. Anyway, should you undergo whatever
    ideas or tips for raw web log owners please partake. I do it this is dispatch subject yet I just wanted
    to require. Many thanks!

  7. chloroquine

    May 23, 2020 at 7:57 pm

  8. Pingback: pills erectile dysfunction

  9. Pingback: order cialis

  10. Pingback: canada pharmacy

  11. Pingback: cialis mastercard

  12. Pingback: vardenafil

  13. Pingback: order vardenafil

  14. Pingback: vardenafil price

  15. Pingback: sildenafil 50 mg prices costco

  16. Pingback: online casinos for usa players

  17. Pingback: real casinos online no deposit

  18. Pingback: cheap viagra online canadian pharmacy

  19. Pingback: online casino games real money

  20. Pingback: best online casino usa

  21. Pingback: canada pharmacy discounted viagra 100

  22. Pingback: payday advance

  23. Pingback: cash advance online

  24. Pingback: personal loans

  25. Pingback: buy viagra australia

  26. Pingback: cialis generic

  27. Pingback: best real money online casinos

  28. Pingback: live casino slots online

  29. Pingback: shayla

  30. Pingback: win real money online casino for free

  31. Pingback: online keno ri

  32. Pingback: 20 cialis

  33. Pingback: 20 cialis

  34. Pingback: cialis generic

  35. Pingback: cheapest 100mg viagra delivered overnight

  36. Pingback: cialis 5 mg

  37. Pingback: online casino real money

  38. Pingback: best online casino

  39. Pingback: hollywood casino

  40. Pingback: buy generic viagra

  41. Pingback: canadian viagra

  42. Pingback: cialis 5mg

  43. Pingback:

  44. Pingback: cialis 10 mg tablet

  45. Pingback:

  46. Pingback: cialis cialis generic

  47. Pingback: generic viagra pills

  48. Pingback: Viagra 50mg uk

  49. Pingback: Viagra 200mg without a doctor prescription

  50. Pingback: viagra substitute

  51. Pingback: cialis coupon 2020

  52. Pingback: Cialis 60mg pills

  53. Pingback: Cialis 80 mg without prescription

  54. Pingback: sildenafil

  55. Pingback: levitra 40 mg tablet

  56. Pingback: lasix 100mg tablets

  57. Pingback: propecia 1 mg pharmacy

  58. Pingback: abilify 10 mg coupon

  59. Pingback: canadian pharmacy online

  60. Pingback: shop pharmacie

  61. Pingback: antabuse 500 mg usa

  62. Pingback: strattera 25 mg cost

  63. Pingback: where to buy aricept 10mg

  64. Pingback: where can i buy baclofen 25mg

  65. Pingback: bactrim 400/80 mg online

  66. Pingback: order Biaxin 500mg

  67. Pingback: buying viagra online

  68. Pingback: how to purchase calcium carbonate 500mg

  69. Pingback: casodex pills

  70. Pingback: catapres nz

  71. Pingback: cheapest ceclor 250 mg

  72. Pingback: how to buy ceftin 500 mg

  73. Pingback: celebrex 100 mg australia

  74. Pingback: celexa 10mg coupon

  75. Pingback: cephalexin online

  76. Pingback: cipro united kingdom

  77. Pingback: claritin united states

  78. Pingback: best online casino usa

  79. Pingback: best online casino real money

  80. Pingback: best online casino real money

  81. Pingback: casino world

  82. Pingback: casinos online

  83. Pingback: slot machine games

  84. Pingback: gambling casino

  85. Pingback: slot games

  86. Pingback: casino slots

  87. Pingback: online casino real money us

  88. Pingback: alliance car insurance quotes

  89. Pingback: geico car insurance

  90. Pingback: gap insurance coverage

  91. Pingback: aaa car insurance quotes reviews

  92. Pingback: good to go car insurance quotes

  93. Pingback: general insurance quote

  94. Pingback: car insurances

  95. Pingback: cialis online

  96. Pingback: gap insurance

  97. Pingback: aaa car insurance quotes reviews

  98. Pingback: car insurance quotes

  99. Pingback: personal loans for bad credit online

  100. Pingback: payday loans georgia

  101. Pingback: payday loans companies

  102. Pingback: installment loans online

  103. Pingback: online quick loans no credit check

  104. Pingback: buy viagra dubai

  105. Pingback: cbd oil online

  106. Pingback: cbd oil side effects stomach pain gas

  107. Pingback: cbd oil for dogs with anxiety

  108. Pingback: generic viagra effectiveness

  109. Pingback: write college essay

  110. Pingback: online essay writer

  111. Pingback: buy a essay

  112. Pingback: homeworks of america

  113. Pingback: mymathlab answers to homework

  114. Pingback: essays writing services

  115. Pingback: buy essays papers

  116. Pingback: write my essay service

  117. Pingback: write an essay

  118. Pingback: clomid cost

  119. Pingback: cheapest clozaril 100 mg

  120. Pingback: order symbicort inhaler

  121. Pingback: combivent 50/20 mcg tablet

  122. Pingback: compazine 5mg without a doctor prescription

  123. Pingback: coumadin 2 mg tablets

  124. Pingback: cymbalta online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *