Tonight, Sheryl Lee Ralph made history with her inspiring acceptance speech at the 2022 Emmy Awards. Ralph plays kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on the ABC comedy Abbott Elementary, and won tonight for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
When Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers announced Ralph's win, Ralph was visibly stunned, remaining seated until her thrilled co-stars walked her to the stage. Ralph then held the award in her hands and began to sing, "I am an endangered species, but I sing a victim's song, I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs."
To a positively delighted and moved crowd, she then went on to dedicate her award to "anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn't, wouldn't couldn't come true," going on to encourage, "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." She then went on to say that having people like her husband, children, friends, and co-star Quinta Brunson "in her corner" has made all the difference.
By highlighting hard work, belief in oneself, and self-care, Ralph brought the crowd to its feet before her speech was even over. And her message served as a powerful message to artists everywhere—particularly female artists of color—to always persevere. Jackée Harry (who you may know from SIster, Sister and Days of Our Lives) echoed this sentiment in a touching tribute over Twitter.
Winning my Emmy was a career highlight, but it was also a lonely experience.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 pic.twitter.com/TiyCwASVTISeptember 13, 2022
Ralph closed her speech off by triumphantly raising her Emmy in the air with three emphatic thank you's, and I guarantee that every spectator—both at home and in the crowd—felt chills down their spine.
Long live Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire and writes about all things beauty, sexual wellness, and fashion. She's also written about sex, gender, and politics for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal since 2018. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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