ACTOR Jaleel White was told that submitting himself for an Emmy nomination was a “waste of time” and “for the white kids.”
The Family Matters star recently spoke out about his role as Steve Urkel and the lack of award-show recognition he received.
Jaleel was never nominated for an Emmy
Despite not garnering a nomination during his nine years on the beloved sitcom, Jaleel became a national sensation as he warmed the hearts of millions.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the 44-year-old revealed that he was discouraged from attending the awards ceremony, and was “never invited, even to present.”
“It’s fair of me now to definitely say … you were made to feel African-American,” he admitted.
Jaleel also spoke of another child star of the late 80’s early 90’s, Fred Savage, who was a white lead in the television series The Wonder Years.
He was never even invited to present
Jaleel’s peer in child stardom, Fred Savage was ‘always invited’
The Family Matters star said Fred was ‘always treated like a darling’
“Fred Savage was always invited to the Emmys; he was always treated like a darling during his time.
“I was never invited to the Emmys, even to present. It was pretty much told to us I would be wasting my time to even submit myself for nomination,” the actor explained.
“It was so normalized — you just shrugged and was said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s for the white kids.’”
Family Matters debuted in 1989, with Jaleel playing the iconic Steve Urkel from the young age of 12.
Jaleel joined the cast at age 12
The show ran for nine years
The comedy ran for nine years until 1998, but was only nominated once for outstanding special visual effects in 1996.
Though official recognition never happened for the cast of the show, Jaleel feels the fan reaction and adoration offered some solace.
“I always took tremendous pride in how many different people, from all walks of life, came up to me and recognized ‘Family Matters,’” he gushed.
“I was always really, really proud of that because that showed a complete opposite of the way I was being treated by our television elite.”
Despite headlining primetime TV for nearly a decade, none of the cast was nominated
Jaleel believed the Emmys to be ‘for white kids’
The actor expressed hope that future black creators ensure their content is broad enough to reach all cultures so they can be recognized widely for their efforts.
“I even try to make sure I encourage African-American filmmakers today like, don’t forget, we want to tell Black stories, but we want to make these themes universal enough that our Black stories can resonate with other people, other cultures.”
Family Matters told the story of The Winslow’s, a middle-class African American family who lived in Chicago.
Though Jaleel joined the cast half-way through the first season with the intent of being a one-time character, the fan response was so enthusiastic that Steve Urkel became the breakout role for the series.
He expressed hope that black creators can break boundaries in 2021
The show was beloved by millions
The show itself became the second-longest-running non-animated sitcom with a predominantly African American cast, following The Jefferson’s and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.
A spin-off of ABC’s Perfect Strangers, Family Matters aired primetime on Friday nights, in the network’s TGIF slot.
<!--googleoff: all--> <div class="sun-grid-container sun-grid-container--white"> <div class="sun-row "> <div class="col sun-col-6"> <div class="rail rail--classic rail--trending theme-showbiz" data-slide-count="4" data-slide-count-tablet="4"> <div class="swiper-container"> <div class="rail__header"> <h3 class="rail__title theme__after-color">Most read in Entertainment</h3> </div> <div class="swiper-pagination theme__swiper-pagination"></div> <div class="swiper-wrapper">