Jharrel Jerome Wins Emmy for “When They See Us”

Jharrel Jerome at the Emmys

When I first watched Barry Jenkins’ magical Moonlight in 2016, I was instantly pulled in to Chiron and Kevin’s love story– specifically feeling attached to teenage Kevin, played by Jharrel Jerome. Both boys portrayed such vulnerability and honesty in their performances, and I knew that Ashton Sanders (Chiron) and Jharrel would be poised to break out in Hollywood. Only two years after the Moonlight cast won the notorious Best Picture award at the 2017 Oscars (in your face always @ La La Land), Jharrel Jerome earned his first Emmy for Lead Actor in a Limited Series for his portrayal of Korey Wise in When They See Us! I doubt I could ever say enough about the importance of the Netflix series by her royal highness Ava DuVernay and how groundbreaking it is to see a critically acclaimed short series about wrongfully incarcerated Black and Brown boys gain so much attention. It’s so rare for a young actor to play essential roles in two revolutionary and award-winning films, so for Jharrel Jerome to win the Lead Actor Emmy speaks volumes about his heartbreaking performances. Although the Academy voters blatantly snubbed When They See Us in nearly every category, I’m thrilled that Jharrel took home the award for his portrayal of Korey Wise so people across the world will know more about what was done to the boys and how the men continue to persevere and fight despite their pain. Jharrel, the first Afro-Latino and the youngest actor ever to win the award forced audiences to reckon with the injustices committed against not only Korey Wise, but also Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, and Raymond Santana. The world knows the Exonerated Five for who they are, not who they were made out to be in 1989. The Emmy for Jharrel Jerome is just beautiful and well-deserved icing on the cake!