Sheryl Lee Ralph earns standing ovation for Emmys acceptance speech and tune

The 74th annual Emmy Awards handed out a lot of historic wins throughout its ceremony on Monday evening, from Zendaya’s second win for finest actress to each prestigious titles for the star and director of “Squid Game.” 

Another first got here as Sheryl Lee Ralph acquired the night’s award for supporting actress in a comedy collection, owing to her efficiency in Quinta Brunson’s extensively acclaimed sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” Brunson, who additionally made Emmys historical past along with her trio of nominations this yr, took residence the award for excellent writing in a comedy present.

74th Primetime Emmys - Press Room
Sheryl Lee Ralph, winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for “Abbott Elementary” poses within the press room through the 74th Primetime Emmys at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Ralph, 66, has for many years acquired reward for her work on Broadway and earned a Tony Award nomination in 1981 for her lead function within the authentic manufacturing of “Dreamgirls.” She received Monday’s supporting actress award after by no means having been nominated earlier than on the Emmys, and her triumph in that class marked the second time a Black lady actor acquired the accolade. Jackée Harry received the award in 1987.

But whereas Ralph’s win was momentous in and of itself, it was not her solely memorable contribution to the awards ceremony. Alongside a transferring acceptance speech, the “Moesha” star delivered an surprising a cappella rendition of Dianne Reeves’ tune “Endangered Species,” and acquired an enthusiastic standing ovation.

“I’m an endangered species / But I sing no sufferer’s tune / I’m a lady, I’m an artist / And I do know the place my voice belongs,” Ralph sang from the stage, in a efficiency that has already been lauded by many as not less than one of many best moments within the historical past of the Emmys.

“To anybody who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, would not, could not come true, I’m right here to let you know that that is what believing appears to be like like. This is what striving appears to be like like,” Ralph said within the acceptance speech, the place she named additionally credited Brunson, her husband and youngsters.

“And do not you ever, ever hand over on you, as a result of should you get a Quinta Brunson in your nook, should you get a husband like mine in your nook, should you get youngsters like mine in your nook, and should you’ve bought pals like all people who voted for me, cheered for me, cherished me. Thank you! Thank you!” she advised the viewers.

Backstage after the present, Ralph defined why she selected to sing “Endangered Species,” from Reeves’ 1994 album “Art & Survival.”

“I’ve been singing that tune for years as a result of I consider myself as an artist. As a lady, particularly as a lady of shade, I’m an endangered species,” she said. “But I do not sing any sufferer tune. I’m a lady. I’m an artist, and I do know the place my voice belongs.”

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