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The Sentinel Awards returned Tuesday night at the Television Academy’s Wolf Theater for its first in-person ceremony in three years, honoring 12 shows whose storytelling tackled powerful and timely topics.
The event, hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown, recognized Reservation Dogs, Abbott Elementary, Dopesick, Hacks, The White Lotus, A Million Little Things, Upload, The First Lady, Resident Alien, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, Never Have I Ever and Harlem for their handling of topics including racism, mental health and abortion.
Hollywood, Health and Society, a program from the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, presented the awards. Season one of Reservation Dogs received a special Culture of Health Award, recognizing TV’s power to affect audiences with stories that address important issues of health, well-being and equity in society.
Stars in attendance included Quinta Brunson and presenter Tyler James Williams, with her Abbott Elementary acceptance speech addressing the disparities in the financial support of school districts.
“Teachers aren’t therapists. They sure as hell aren’t paid as therapists, but they do help give kids a future, and I think that’s very important to public health, and the health of our children — in particular, Black children in communities like the one in Abbott,” she said. “We have to keep making this show with the care and love that we make it with.”
Hannah Einbinder also presented to Hacks’ Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky. Statsky opened the acceptances with “we’re so honored to have spent an hour and a half in hair and makeup to accept an award about women and ageism,” the topic for which the show was recognized.
Aneillo noted, “At the beginning of our journey with Deborah Vance, we knew we wanted to create a show that brought a woman, long cast aside by the loudest voices in the room, to the center,” as Downs added, “We want to leave you with this fact: people 60 plus make up 19 percent of the American public but only 3.5 percent of leading characters on television. So, we need to do better. Not just for the world, but for me personally so I can have roles when I’m that age.”
Also on hand were Sarah Podemski for Reservation Dogs; Chris Schleicher and Lee Carlisle for Never Have I Ever; Aaron Cooley and Azia Squire for The First Lady; Allison Miller, Elizabeth Laime and Lucile Masson for A Million Little Things; Sara Tomko, Tommy Pico and Nastaran Dibai for Resident Alien; Shoniqua Shandai, Jerrie Johnson, Meagan Good, Shoniqua Shandai and Tracy Oliver for Harlem; Josh Banday and Megan Neuringer for Upload; and Lisa Henson for Fraggle Rock. Reservation Dogs‘ Sterlin Harjo and Dopesick‘s Danny Strong accepted their honors via video.
Lil Mike and Funny Bone from Reservation Dogs entertained the crowd with a rap performance, teaching attendees how to rain dance and getting the stars on their feet.
Hollywood, Health and Society director Kate Folb said, “This year’s event was full of joy, laughter and some tears as we celebrated the successes of these amazing shows, their creative teams and the impact they have had on their audiences.”
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