Emmys 2022: Sheryl Lee Ralph Brings the House Down With 'Abbott Elementary' Win Speech

Living legend Sheryl Lee Ralph just reminded everyone in Hollywood why she deserves that status with her surprise win at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards Monday night. Ralph, 65, won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for ABC's hit Abbott Elementary and sang when she picked up her award from presenter Seth Meyers. The Tony nominee for Dreamgirls also delivered an inspiring speech that left everyone stunned.

After Ralph accepted the award, she took a deep breath behind the microphone. "I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim's song," she belted out as she began singing Dianne Reeves' 1993 song "Endangered Species." "I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs," Ralph sang, extending the last note before she brought everyone to their feet.

"To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wouldn't, couldn't come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like," Ralph said. "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 got friends like everyone who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me... Thank you!"

Ralph stars in Abbott Elementary as Barbara Howard, a veteran teacher who serves as Janine Teagues' biggest inspiration. The series was created by Brunson, who also plays Janine. Ralph's victory was the show's second win, as it previously won Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series at the Creative Arts Emmys. The show was also nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy (Brunson), Supporting Actor (Tyler James Williams), and Writing (Brunson). The show landed a second Supporting Actress nod for Janelle James, who plays the school's principal. The first season is now available to stream on Hulu and HBO Max. Season 2 debuts on ABC on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET.

Ralph began acting in the late 1970s and scored her breakthrough role as Deena Jones in the original production of Dreamgirls. She earned a Tony nomination for her performance. She also earned acclaim for her performance in the 1990 film To Sleep With Anger. She starred in Moesha from 1996 to 2001 and had a recurring role in Ray Donovan. Incredibly, this was her first-ever Emmy nomination.