Sheryl Lee Ralph sings Emmys acceptance speech

The actress has become the second black woman in Emmys history to win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE TELEVISION ACADEMY - Sheryl Lee Ralph accepts the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for "Abbott Elementary" at the 74th Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept.  12, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  (Photo by Phil McCarten / Invision for the Television Academy / AP Images)
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Sheryl Lee Ralph has become the second black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

The actress and singer took home the award on Monday night for her performance as schoolteacher Barbara Howard in Abbott Elementary, a comedy series about a group of passionate teachers in a Philadelphia public school determined to bring out the best in their students.

When her name was called out, Ralph was visibly in shock and took a moment to savour her win, before being escorted to the stage by her co-star Tyler James Williams. After composing herself, the Tony Award-nominated Broadway star, broke out into Dianne Reeves' song Endangered Species.

“I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim song,” Ralph sang. “I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.”

Rousing the audience into a standing ovation, Ralph went on to thank co-star and Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson and her family.

“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 for me, thank you,” she said.

Ralph also took a moment to inspire audiences at home to keep working towards their dream, using herself as an example.

“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.”

Actress and comedian Jackee Harry was the first black woman to win the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 35 years ago for her role in the show 227.

Harry tweeted her support for Ralph and referred to the win as coming “full circle”.

Brunson won Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary ― her first Emmy. The second season of the show will be broadcast on September 21 on ABC.

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Updated: September 13, 2022, 6:14 AM