Paris Barclay

Paris Barclay First Black Director Nominated For An Emmy In All Narrative Categories

Veteran director and one of TV’s most prominent directors, Paris Barclay, can now add “history maker” to his extensive résumé.

After being nominated for his work on Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Barclay is now the first Black director to have been nominated in the Drama, Comedy, and Limited or Anthology Series or TV Movie categories, according to Deadline. He was previously nominated in 1998 for ABC’s NYPD Blue, in 2002 for NBC’s The West Wing, and in 2010, 2013, and 2014 for Fox’s Glee. 

Barclay is also the former president of the Directors Guild of America.

“I’m mostly just incredibly grateful,” he said of his nomination. “Grateful to the terrific writers I’ve been fortunate to work with on Emmy episodes – David Milch, Aaron SorkinRyan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, and now I can add David McMillan and Janet Mock to the list.” He continued, “But I’m also grateful I’ve been able to help tell stories that really matter, that really make a difference. This episode of Dahmer literally put the victim first, and when the victim was a gay, deaf, Black man, it’s not an everyday thing. I was proud to help newcomer Rodney Burford give a performance that matched Evan Peters’ intensity, and to portray his world in a way that people could really empathize with. It’s one of the episodes I’m proudest of in my career, and to be recognized is fantastic, but really secondary to getting to say “Tony Hughes mattered.”

Dahmer received criticism from the families of the serial killer’s victims; however, the show received 13 Emmy nominations, including a nod for Niecy Nash, who took on the role of Dahmer’s neighbor, Glenda Cleveland. Barclay’s episode “Silenced” is one of the more pivotal episodes of the series, as Dahmer begins a romantic relationship with a Black-deaf aspiring model named Tony Hughes, portrayed by Burford, who becomes one of his many victims. Hughes’ family relationship is threaded throughout, adding a heartbreaking layer to his subsequent death. The role of Hughes’ mother is played by actress Karen Malina White, best known for her role as Charmaine Brown on The Cosby Show.