Paris Barclay, an African American television director, and John Leguizamo, a Latino actor, weren't backstage long before they were asked to put their Emmy wins in context given the lack of diversity on prime-time television.
With the NAACP threatening to boycott the networks this season and networks redoubling efforts to diversify the casts of their new shows before the start of the new season next week, Barclay threw his Emmy weight behind any efforts to pressure programmers.
"I actually support any pressure on the networks that'll get them to change," said Barclay, who won for the second straight year for the directing he has done on the ABC drama "NYPD Blue." Barclay credited series executive producer Steven Bochco for creating diverse ranks in front of and behind the camera on that show.
"Steven fortunately doesn't seem to care [about race]," Barclay said. "As he says, 'I am too old and too rich to care.' "
Leguizamo, who took home an Emmy for his one-man show, "Freak," which aired on HBO, said that as a Latino he had been offered so many "drug-dealing, cocaine Mafia prince" roles that he realized he had to take matters into his own hands.
"The roles [Latinos get] are not breakthrough," he said. "They're not the upscale Latino people I meet in my life. They don't represent the doctors, the lawyers, the writers. . . . It is changing gradually. But I think Latino people have to do that themselves."
On stage, Leguizamo credited HBO with airing his show, calling the network "Hispanic Box Office."
As Chris Rock said of diversity on TV: "White people own it, they don't want us on it, it's as simple as that." He added, "Two years ago, I was the hottest guy in Hollywood, and I got no scripts. So I had to write my own movie."