Chris Haston/NBC

Sheryl Lee Ralph won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a comedy series at the 2022 Emmys Monday night for her work on Abbott Elementary and brought the audience to their feet with her powerful acceptance speech.

After taking the stage, the 65-year-old actress held up her trophy and belted out the opening lyrics to “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves, a five-time Grammy-winning jazz singer.

“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 sang.

Ralph then thanked Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson as well as her husband and kids before turning her attention to the audience and those watching at home.

“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. “This is what striving looks like, and don’t you ever, ever give up on you.”

This is a historic win for Ralph, as she is now the the second Black woman in Emmy history to win this honor.  Jackée Harry was the first Black woman to win Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, taking home the honor in 1987 for 227.

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