Sheryl Lee Ralph gives ‘greatest Emmy speech of all time’ with moving song

Sheryl Lee Ralph singing while holding her Emmy on stage

Sheryl Lee Ralph stunned audiences with her sung Emmy acceptance speech.

The veteran actor won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmys 2022 for her role as Barbara in hit school sitcom Abbott Elementary.

Known for originating Deena Jones in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, and for playing stepmother Dee in Moesha, it was Ralph’s first Emmy nomination.

Taking to the stage as she was announced as winner, the actor, visibly moved, burst into song with “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves”.

She sung the lyrics: “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.”

Ralph, 66, added: “This is what not giving up on yourself looks like.” She also thanked Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson, who also won her first Emmy on the night, for comedy writing.

Quickly, viewers lauded Sheryl Lee Ralph’s moving Emmy acceptance speech, calling it possibly the greatest ever.

Sheryl Lee Ralph becomes the first Black woman to win the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 35 years (and the second ever), following Jackée Harry.

Harry, who also starred in Sister, Sister, won the award in 1987 for her role in sitcom 227. She tweeted after Ralph’s win: “The network originally wanted Sheryl Lee Ralph to play Sandra on 227, but I got the part and won an Emmy for it.

“Now, Sheryl joins me as the second black woman in this category and deservedly so! I’m so exited for her Emmys win!

“Congrats, Sheryl & welcome to the club!”

Elsewhere on the night, Zendaya became the youngest two-time Emmy winner, taking home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for Euphoria.

Succession won best drama, and Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae became the first Asian person to win Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama, and the first person to win an acting award for a non-English language performance.

The White Lotus was the biggest winner overall with 10 gongs, including Supporting Actor and Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series for Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge.