Posts tagged: ethel waters

Ethel Waters – First African American to be Nominated for an Emmy in 1962

By , February 2, 2018 6:24 pm

Did you know that Ethel Waters was the first African American to be nominated for an Emmy Award? In 1962, the legendary jazz and blues singer received the nomination for her performance in a “Route 66” episode, “Good Night, Sweet Blues.”

Ethel Waters in "Route 66", episode “Good Night, Sweet Blues.”

Ethel Waters in “Route 66”, episode “Good Night, Sweet Blues.”

In the episode, “Good Night, Swee Blues”, Ethel Waters plays Jenny Henderson, a retired singer in failing health who commissions Tod and Buzz to find and bring her the members of the Memphis Naturals, the band she performed and recorded with thirty years earlier.

Waters’ nomination for this role paved the way for women like Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Alfre Woodard, Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, Regina King, and Viola Davis, now the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Beyond acting, Waters’ also performed jazz, big band, and pop music on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues.

Her best-known recordings include Dinah,”Stormy Weather,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “Heat Wave,” “Supper Time,” Am I Blue?and “Cabin in the Sky,” as well as her version of the spiritual “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

Here at the Recorded Sound Archives we are celebrating Black History month through music by highlighting the voices of the past and their accomplishments.

To listen to recordings by Ethel Waters, click here.

 

 

 

 

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