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Tracee Ellis Ross didn't win an Emmy. But she won our hearts and made history anyway.

The underrepresentation of minorities on television is still a big problem, but there's hope.

Tracee Ellis Ross didn't win an Emmy. But she won our hearts and made history anyway.

Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated for a 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP.

Ross was nominated for her role as Rainbow Johnson in "Black-ish," an ABC sitcom about a self-aware and non-stereotypical black family. Ross' character — the matriarch of the family — is half white.


This nomination for Ross marks her first Emmy nod. But most importantly, this is the first time a black actress has been nominated in this category in 30 years. The last black actress to be recognized and nominated for her work in a comedy series was Phylicia Rashad in 1986 for playing Clair Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." But she didn't win; Betty White took home the prize that year.

2016 seemed poised to be Ross' year.

Which is why it was a surprise when Ross lost to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who accepted her fifth consecutive Emmy in that category for her role on "Veep."

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

It's not that Dreyfus doesn't deserve it — "Veep" is an incredible piece of media. But why not spread the love? It would've been an amazing moment of recognition for black actresses all over America.

And it also would have helped us talk about the larger problem at hand: a lack of diversity in Hollywood.

The underrepresentation of minorities on television is still a big problem.

A UCLA study on diversity in Hollywood found that out of 825 roles in broadcast scripted programming, only 9% of them went to black actors during the 2013-14 season. All minorities combined accounted for only 20% of those 825 roles.

Ross' nomination was not only symbolic, it was also necessary.

In the late 1980s, the Huxtables on "The Cosby Show" were seen as a "new" type of black family (especially following portrayals on shows like "Good Times" or "Sanford and Son"). The Huxtables were an upper-middle-class family, which is something that was rarely shown on television at the time. The dad (played by Bill Cosby) was a doctor, and the mom was a lawyer.

But that was 30 years ago, and things have changed quite a bit since then. Now "Black-ish" seems to be carrying on the "Cosby Show" torch but in a more realistic, relatable, and modern way. During this season alone, the show has tackled police brutality and a number of other serious issues. They use comedy to start important conversations in people's living rooms, and that's incredibly important.

The cast of "Black-ish." Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images.

Progress is happening: This year's Emmy nominees are the most racially diverse ever.

It means the landscape for non-white actors is widening, and more people are being given opportunities to show what they can do, like Ross. Plus, Ross' family was so proud, her mom, Diana Ross, even took out a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter congratulating the star.

"Women playing a nuanced role in life has been happening for eons, but on TV it’s been few and far between," Ross has said about her role on "Black-ish."

"In 2016, we’re still trying to get the wife role to match who we are in life, which is people who are many things, not just wives."

So while I wish Ross had taken home the Emmy this year, I can't wait to see what else she has in store. Congrats, Tracee!

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

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via Jess Martini / Tik Tok

There are few things as frightening to a parent than losing your child in a crowded place like a shopping mall, zoo, or stadium. The moment you realize your child is missing, it's impossible not to consider the terrifying idea they may have been kidnapped.

A woman in New Zealand recently lost her son in a Kmart but was able to locate him because of a potentially life-saving parenting hack she saw on TikTok a few months ago.

The woman was shopping at the retailer when she realized her two-year-old son Nathan was missing. She immediately told a friend to alert the staff to ensure he didn't leave through the store's front exit.

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