Sheryl Lee Ralph knows where her voice belongs.
The “Abbott Elementary” star took home an Emmy Monday night for supporting actress in a comedy series for playing the stern yet dedicated Ms. Howard in the ABC sitcom about an inner-city Philadelphia school.
After being helped to her stage by her co-stars, Ralph, 56, brought down the house with a rendition of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Woman.”
“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,” Ralph said in her acceptance speech.
“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 friends like everybody who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Ralph is just the second Black actress to win in the category and the first since Jackee Harry won in 1987 for “227.”
She beat out “Abbott Elementary” co-star Janelle James, “Ted Lasso” actresses Juno Temple, Sarah Niles and Hannah Waddingham, “Hacks” actress Hannah Einbinder, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” actress Alex Borstein and “Saturday Night Live” alum Kate McKinnon.
Ralph’s award comes after a lifetime on camera and the stage, including a Tony nomination for her breakout role as Deena Jones in the 1981 Broadway musical “Dreamgirls.”