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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Jemel McWilliams Reveals How One Instagram Video Helped Change The Dance Industry

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Jemel McWilliams was nominated for his first Emmy Award in 2020 for the Janelle Monae opening number at this year's Oscars. In addition to his work with Monae and John Legend, McWilliams has been a game-changer in body image in the dance industry. His work with Lizzo made headlines because dance agencies were not representing plus-size dancers and they were not getting the same job opportunities.

Jemel also discusses the importance of social justice in the arts and the fact that the lack of representation carries over to Emmy winners in the Outstanding Choreography category. (Editor's Note: The last time a Black choreographer won the category was Jason Samuels Smith in 2004.)

The discussion also takes a personal turn to how the arts media can best serve Black artists — What are we missing? What can we do better? Don't miss this incredible interview.

Before you go, click here for our interview with 2020 Emmy nominee Travis Wall.


Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel yet? We have weekly interviews uploaded with your favorite performers and choreographers from the dance industry.


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