Debbie Allen was honoured with the 2021 Governors Award, the most prestigious of the night, which recognises an “outstanding achievement in the arts and sciences or management of television.”
Debbie is a huge driving force in American television, with experience as an actor, dancer, choreographer, writer, producer, and director.
The Emmy Awards 2021 recognised an abundance of talent across the television industry: from Michaela Coel winning her first Emmy for I May Destroy You, to The Crown dominating the evening, with a stunning haul of 11 awards in total. However there was one moment – one speech in particular – that really caught our attention.
As well as previously receiving 20 Emmy nominations, five of which she has won, she has been praised for widening access for young, marginalised people into the television industry.
This something she referenced in her speech after accepting the Governor’s award, saying:
“Young people, who have no vote, who can’t even get a vaccine, they are inheriting the world that we leave them. It is time to claim your power, claim your voice, say your song, tell your stories. It will make us a better place. Your turn.”
Here’s everything we know about Debbie Allen, from receiving all the awards, to empowering the next generation of talent.
She celebrated winning the Governors Award at the Emmys 2021 with a powerful speech
Debbie Allen is the first Black woman to ever receive the Governors Award at the Emmys. The momentous occasion was marked by tributes from the likes of Ava DuVernay and Jada Pinkett Smith, followed by standing ovation from her Hollywood peers. As Debbie accepted her award, she said “I am trembling with gratitude and grace. I’m trying not to cry and be equal to the situation because it’s been many years in the making.”
Debbie continued, “It’s taken a lot of courage to be the only woman in the room most of the time. A lot of courage and creativity and fight and faith to believe that I could keep going. And I have. And I brought a whole lot of people with me.
“Let this moment resonate with women across the world, across this country and across the world, from Texas to Afghanistan. Let them know.
“And also with young people, who have no vote, who can’t even get a vaccine, they are inheriting the world that we leave them. It is time to claim your power, claim your voice, say your song, tell your stories. It will make us a better place. Your turn.”