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Debbie Allen Makes History First Black Woman To Receive Governors Award


Debbie Allen made history as the first black woman to receive the Governor’s Award at Sunday evening’s Emmy Awards. The actress, director, and choreographer was presented with the award by Jada Pinkett-Smith, director and producer Ava Duvernay, actress Ellen Pompeo, and actor Michael Douglass.

The Governors Award is given to an “individual for outstanding achievement in the arts and sciences which is either of a cumulative nature or so extraordinary and universal in nature as to go beyond the scope of the Emmy Awards presented in the categories and areas of the competition.”

“Let this moment resonate with women across the world, from Texas to Afghanistan,” she said. “It is time to claim your power, claim your voice,” Allen said during her acceptance speech. Allen is known for her work on Fame, A Different World, and has choreographed the Emmys over ten times.

The Houston native brought dance to the masses with her work on “Fame”.  In 1983, Debbie Allen became the first African American to win a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

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