After an extended and well-deserved standing ovation, the Broadway star celebrated with a song, soaking up every second of her moment.
“To anyone who has ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true, I am here to tell you, this is what believing looks like,” the legendary performer said while accepting her award. “This is what striving looks like. 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, children like mine in your corner and if you’ve got friends like me, everybody who voted for me, cheered for me loved me, thank you.”
Ralph won for playing Abbott Elementary’s veteran teacher Barbara Howard, a role Quinta wanted her for after they worked together on A Black Lady Sketch Show.
“Robin Thede said, ‘You know when you did that episode with Quinta, she said to me that she had to work with you in the future,’” Ralph told The Root and other members of the press after her win. “Then she wrote this show and she said to me, ‘Ms. Ralph, I know you’re at a point in your career where people offer you roles, but if you would just meet everybody that’s connected to this project, it would be good for all of us.’ I met with her and that was it. Although I did want to play Ava Coleman, the principal, and she said, ‘Absolutely not, we need a queen for this role and that is you.’”
The original Dreamgirls star is the first Black woman to win the award since Jackee Harry won for 227 in 1987. Ms. Jackee tweeted her excitement for her fellow Emmy winner, writing, “Winning my Emmy was a career highlight, but it was also a lonely experience. For 35 years I’ve been the only black woman to win Outstanding Supporting Actresses in a Comedy Series. But that all changes tonight… and it’s come full circle! #Emmys”