Big cheers to Debbie Allen. I feel like, I don’t know, we’ve been kept informed of her career for a long time? Or that she was already a big deal, a trailblazer, back in the days of A Different World, where she would have first met Jada Pinkett-Smith (who, incidentally, looks like some kind of matrix/monk in that dress, with the brightest eyes and the skin of the night – who gets to look like that, under television lights no less, when they’re 50?!).


But that wasn’t the iconic show these four chose as a vehicle to pay homage to Debbie Allen. No, they chose something much, much more exciting: 

Jada Pinkett Smith, Ava DuVernay, Ellen Pompeo, and Michael Douglas appear at the 73RD EMMY AWARDS
Jada Pinkett Smith, Ava DuVernay, Ellen Pompeo, and Michael Douglas appear at the 73RD EMMY AWARDS

I don’t know exactly how, but Fame, the TV show based on the movie, went through phases of being sort of well-enough regarded (look who was on it!) to being cheesy and overwrought, all the way back around to being iconic again. I mean, it’s bold! That cane they all tapped, in her rhythm, those lines that – let’s be honest, not just anyone could sell ‘and right here’s where you start payin’ – in sweat.’ 


But let’s get to the goods here – did they coordinate outfits? Gratefully taking Michael Douglas out of the conversation, though in the interests of equity I will say he appears comfortable in a suit, unlike some contemporaries, I can’t help notice how similar the silhouettes are. Ava DuVernay and Ellen Pompeo are both in jumpsuits, whereas I’m pretty sure Jada’s is a dress, but – all long sleeves, all solid colour – a gravitas that might not have been there if someone decided to go with a printed one-shoulder, right? 

Then again, can you see Ellen Pompeo consulting with anybody on what to wear? She might inform others of her choice and let them come along, but I can’t see her setting up for a matchy-matchy moment, can you? 


Oh, and as for the speech, when she was presented the Governor’s Award, I mean, it was wonderful, and yes she said the great line about not watching the clock, but that works because she was being specifically honoured for the biggest deal of the night. And you play that card ONCE, not every single time someone asks you to shut up…!

Still, the grin on Jurnee Smollett’s face here, when Debbie officially relieves the clock-watcher of their duties, is just about worth the obnoxiousness of knowing that so many men look at this honour being bestowed on Debbie Allen after six decades of work and go “…well yeah, we’re about the same, I’ve done some stuff too, so…”