For her role in Abbott Elementary, Sheryl Lee Ralph wins the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
When the Emmys rolled on, and the winners were crowned victorious, Philadelphia was certainly in the house: music director Adam Blackstone for his hip hop Super Bowl halftime show, Quinta Brunson for Best Comedy Writing with Abbott Elementary, an ABC show that also nailed three out of its seven nominations including an outstanding casting for a comedy series win. Yet it is local actor, by virtue of her marriage to Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, Sheryl Lee Ralph from Abbott Elementary, and her victory for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series that is the loudest biggest deal.
Not only because Sheryl Lee Ralph is the second Black actress to win in that Supporting category after Jackée Harry won in 1987 for the series, 227. Ralph has been in series television since 1978 – Good Times in the episode “J.J and the Plumber’s Helper” was her debut – with roles in Wonder Woman, The Jeffersons, McGyver, Criminal Minds, Two Broke Girls, Ray Donovan and nearly countless other network, cable and streaming opportunities with not so much as one other nomination to show for it.
Along with playing stepmom to the title character of the 1990s sit-com “Moesha,” on television, Ralph will always be beloved for playing Deena Jones in “Dreamgirls” on Broadway in the 1980s.
WTF?!? It was about time that this woman won something major.
Opening her Emmy acceptance speech by singing an a cappella version of “Endangered Species” from Dianne Reeves (“I am a woman, I am an artist / And I know where my voice belongs”), Sheryl Lee Ralph went on to say “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.“ Then Ralph gave the crowd a big fist bump and yelled, “This is what striving looks like!”
Sheryl Lee Ralph also reminded the AP of Abbott Elementary’s mostly Black cast, and of its rarity. “The fact that this is the first time since the 1980s that people in a majority Black cast have all been nominated, the first time in 40 years,” Ralph said. “The fact that it is my first nomination, my first invitation to the awards, and guess what? Nothing before its time. Everything is right on time. And I’m happy to be here because I’m sailing, baby. I’m loving it.”