Sheryl Lee Ralph, 65, stole the Emmys red carpet with her high-slit black gown and bedazzled braid.
She also won the world over with her powerful award acceptance speech.
She became the second Black woman to win the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Abbot Elementary.
The post-2022 Emmys buzz is in full swing, and Sheryl Lee Ralph’s win—and her powerful acceptance speech—is, without a doubt, the night’s biggest highlight. The Abbot Elementary star, 65, became the second Black actress to take home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and she looked incredible doing it, wearing a black strapless, high-slit gown and a bedazzled waist-length braid.
It’s pretty serendipitous how everything came together, given that initially, she and an Abbot Elementary co-star chose the same dress for the evening. “The designer sent my cast member and me the same sketch. And as I was picking out my dress, she had already picked out hers. Horrible,” she told People ahead of the event. Thankfully, up-and-coming designer Brandon Blackwood stepped in to save the day, creating the gown she accepted her win in, which featured an unexpected orange underlay and a crystal-embellished trunk clutch to match.
The look was accessorized with a simple yet glamorous silver diamond necklace, bangles, and black pumps.
In accepting her award, Ralph broke out into a bone-chilling a cappella verse from Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species.” The crowd gave her a standing ovation, and she continued, delivering an inspiring message on belief, perseverance, and community.
“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,” she said. She went on to thank her husband, children, and friends for their support.
“I’ve been singing that song for years because I think of myself as an artist, as a woman, especially as a woman of color—I’m an endangered species,” she continued. “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.”
After leaving the stage, she took to Instagram to further extend her excitement and appreciation. “Hey everybody, how are you? I hope you’re doing half as good as I am right now,” she said from her ceremony seat. “And I want to thank all of you for all of your great wishes, for every kind thing you’ve said to me, for everybody who voted, for everybody who didn’t vote, for everybody who’s watching Abbot ... thank you.”
Fans and famous friends took to the comments section to share in the star’s excitement. “Screaming!!!!!!!! So deserved. Congrats queen!!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️,” Kerry Washington commented. “SO DESERVED !!! Your speech goes down in history !! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾❤️❤️❤️🇯🇲,” Naomi Campbell wrote. “The inspiration you have given millions of people today. This moment will live on. Thank you,” one fan commented.
The last Black woman to win an Emmy in Ralph’s category was Jackée Harry who won it for 227 in 1987. We can’t wait to see what exciting projects Lee Ralph will take on next. But in the meantime, we’ll be playing her iconic acceptance speech on repeat.
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