Sheryl Lee Ralph made history as the second ever Black woman to win the Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her terrific performance in Abbott Elementary, an American mockumentary sitcom.
The Disney+ series narrates the story of a group of dedicated teachers and a slightly tone-deaf principal – find themselves thrown together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. This sitcom was up for six awards on the night, with Ralph bagging the coveted Supporting Actress award.
To a standing ovation, Ralph expressed her joy by stating, “To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like — this is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever, ever give up on you, because if you get a Quinta Brunson in your corner, if you get a husband like mine in your corner, if you get children like mine in your corner, and if you’ve got friends like everybody who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
During her acceptance speech, Ralph surprised everyone by singing a verse from Dianne Reeves’ ‘Endangered Species.
“I’ve been singing that song for years because I think of myself as an artist, a woman, especially a woman of colour — I’m an endangered species. I don’t sing any victim songs. I’m a woman. I’m an artist, and I know where my voice belongs. And there are so many young actors, artists, even kids that think they know what they’re going to do in life: Find your voice and put it where it belongs.”
After starring in Sister Act, Step Sisters and A Piece Of The Action, Ralph became the second Black woman in history to win the category. She followed on from Jackée Harry in 1987, who won it for 227. Taking to Twitter to acknowledge Ralph’s win, Harry wrote “For 35 years I’ve been the only Black woman to win Outstanding Supporting Actresses in a Comedy Series. But that all changes tonight… and it’s come full circle! #Emmys.”
Many fans took to Twitter to express their opinion. One user wrote, “Sheryl Lee Ralph is an Emmy-award winning actress, at last. The moment is long overdue, but she deserves to be celebrated – hence everyone being on their feet #Emmys2022 #Emmys.”
Another put, “Let out an audible “Whoo!” at work when I saw Sheryl Lee Ralph come away with the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy statue. Well deserved!! So well deserved and overdue!”
- Staff Reporter