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74th Primetime Emmys - Press Room

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Sheryl Lee Ralph made history with her first Emmy award.

As the second Black actress to win outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, Ralph expressed with much emotion that “this is what believing looks like.”  Jackée Harry was the first Black. actress to win this award for 227 in 1987. The veteran actress burst into song singing a verse from jazz singer Diane Reeves’ 1993 song “Endangered Species” while taking the stage to accept her Emmy.  


“I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim song,” she sang. “I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.” She then gave a. very inspirational speech that was followed by a standing ovation.

“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,” Ralph said. “This is what striving looks like, and don’t you ever, ever give up on you.”

“Because if you get a Quinta Brunson, if you get a husband like mine in your corner,” Ralph added. “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!”

Ralph, 65, plays kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on Abbott Elementary created by Quinta Brunson on ABC. 

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SEE: Quinta Brunson Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV

Sheryl Lee Ralph Wins First Emmy For ‘Abbott Elementary’  was originally published on

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