Sheryl Lee Ralph is the second Black actress to win Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

·2 min read
Sheryl Lee Ralph is the second Black actress to win Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Sheryl Lee Ralph just made history as the second ever Black woman to win the Emmy award for best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

Abbott Elementary, the Disney+ series about a group of dedicated teachers at a Philadelphia school, was up for six awards on the night, with Ralph scooping up the coveted Supporting Actress award. It was the Dreamgirls star's first win, thanks to her portrayal of longtime teacher Barbara, and Ralph sang a verse from Dianne Reeves' 'Endangered Species' during her acceptance speech.

To a standing ovation, she continued:

"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!

"I’ve been singing that song for years because I think of myself as an artist, as a woman, especially as a woman of colour — I’m an endangered species. I don’t sing any victim song. I’m a woman. I’m an artist, and I know where my voice belongs. And there’s 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."

Photo credit: Gilbert Flores - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gilbert Flores - Getty Images


The actress, who has also starred in Sister Act, Step Sisters and A Piece Of The Action, is the second Black woman in history to win the category. She follows 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 viewers took to Twitter to express the bittersweet nature of Ralph's win, pointing out how long overdue the recognition is. "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," one wrote.

Another put, "Let out an audible “Whoo!” at work when I saw Sheryl Lee Ralph came away the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy statute. Well deserved!! So well deserved and overdue!"

WATCH NOW Find Abbot Elementary on Disney+ now

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