Member Focus

October 3, 2022

Ebell member Sheryl Lee Ralph made television history for Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Barbara Howard in ABC’s Abbott Elementary.  She is the first Black woman to win the award in 35 years and only the second Black woman to win the award in the history of the Emmys! But, as anyone who is lucky enough to know Sheryl knows, she’s so much more than that.!

Her acceptance went viral. Below is her acceptance as was reported by the LA Times:

During the 74th Emmys on Monday, the acclaimed veteran performer sang the house down upon winning the award for supporting actress in a comedy. But instead of the traditional acceptance speech, the Moesha actor channeled a song by jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.

“I am an endangered species / But I sing no victim’s song / I am a woman, I am an artist / And I know where my voice belongs,” she thundered a cappella, reciting lines from Reeves’ Endangered Species, which appeared on her 1994 album, Art & Survival.

Receiving standing ovations before and after she took the stage, Ralph dedicated her first Emmy to dreamers.

“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 said as several of her peers rose from their seats. “This is what striving looks like.

“And don’t you ever, ever give up on you, 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 me — thank you! Thank you!”

We are so lucky to count Sheryl among our members! Congratulations and thank you for inspiring us.

You can read more about Sheryl here in recent profiles in  NY Times, LA Times, NPR Fresh Air