“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph used her Emmy acceptance speech to remind the audience – and viewers everywhere – that she’s got major pipes.
While on stage, Ralph, who won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy for her role as seasoned teacher Barbara Howard, broke out into Dianne Reeves’ song “Endangered Species.”
“I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim’s song,” she sang at the ceremony, bringing the entire audience to its feet. “I am a woman, I am an artist. And I know where my voice belongs.”
Ralph was shocked by her win. Upon hearing her named called, she leaned on co-star Tyler James Williams, who led her to the stage. Then she composed herself, sang a capella and launched into a rousing victory 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 said to applause. “This is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever ever give up on you.”
The actress thanked her co-star and “Abbott Elementary” creator, Quinta Brunson, for her support, as well as her husband, Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes and their children.
Ralph has worked in entertainment since the 1970s, appearing in bit parts on TV before her debut on Broadway in the original 1981 production of “Dreamgirls,” for which she earned a Tony nomination. This is her first Emmy nomination and win.
“Abbott Elementary” was nominated for seven Emmys at this year’s ceremony.