The Television Academy said Thursday that Debbie Allen will receive the 2021 Governors Award, bestowed on the dancer-choreographer-actress-writer-producer-director “for her unprecedented achievements in television and her commitment to inspire and engage marginalized youth through dance, theater arts and mentorship.”
Allen will be recognized during the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast September 19 on CBS and Paramount+.
The award honors an individual or organization whose achievement is so exceptional and universal in nature that it goes beyond the scope of annual Emmy Awards recognition, the academy said.
“Debbie Allen has been a creative voice for a generation of performers and storytellers and has left an indelible mark on the television industry,” Governors Award selection committee co-chair Eva Basler said. Added co-chair Debra Curtis: “Debbie’s commitment to mentoring underserved communities has been nothing short of extraordinary. She has shared her gift and love of dance and choreography with countless aspiring performers across the globe.”
Allen, an artist in residence at the Kennedy Center for over 15 years and who founded the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, has choreographed for the likes of Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Gwen Verdon, Carmen de Lavallade, Diane Carroll, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Dolly Parton and Savion Glover, as well as 10 times for the Academy Awards ceremony.
Her directing, producing and acting credits include the likes of Fame, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Jane the Virgin, Empire, Insecure, A Different World, Everybody Hates Chris, Stompin’ at the Savoy, Polly, That’s So Raven, Cool Women, Quantum Leap, The Fantasia Barrino Story and Christmas on the Square.
Allen earlier this year was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor and has three Emmys already for her choreography, including this year for the Netflix holiday movie Christmas on the Square starring Dolly Parton.
“This has been an amazing year for me,” said Allen. “To be celebrated by the Television Academy is an overwhelming honor that humbles me and says to my community of dancing gypsies, actors, writers and musicians that if you stay passionate about your craft and do the work, you can go far.”
Previous Governors Awards nominees include Tyler Perry last year. Before that the honor went to Star Trek, ITVS, American Idol and A+E Networks.
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