emmys 2022

Abbott Elementary’s Sheryl Lee Ralph Belts Out Her Emmys Acceptance Speech

Photo: Chris Haston/NBC via Getty Images

Oh, thank sweet baby Jesus — and the grown one, too. At the 2022 Emmy Awards, Sheryl Lee Ralph won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Barbara Howard, Abbott Elementary’s resident kindergarten teacher and woman of God. After sitting frozen in her seat for a few seconds, Ralph took co-star Tyler James Williams’s arm and walked onstage to accept the award. She opened her speech by performing an emotional a cappella rendition of “Endangered Species,” by Dianne Reeves. “I sing no victim song,” she belted. “I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.”

This is the first Emmy win and nomination for the 65-year-old actress, who turned her acceptance speech into a motivational speech. “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,” she proclaimed. “This is what striving looks like, and don’t you ever, ever give up on you.” She went on to thank Abbott’s creator, Quinta Brunson; her husband; her children; and everyone who voted and cheered for her. “Thank you, thank you!” she said, pumping her statuette in the air to a standing ovation. Now there’s a nice memory she can share with her class this back-to-school season.

Sheryl Lee Ralph Belts Out Her Emmys Acceptance Speech