(CMR) Veteran Jamaican-American actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph won an Emmy on Monday night as a first-time nominee at the age of 66. Ralph won the award for best-supporting actress in a comedy for her role as Barbara Howard, a beloved, matriarchal Kindergarten teacher on “Abbott Elementary.”
The ABC sitcom is about high-spirited teachers in a woefully underfunded Philadelphia public school.
Ralph, the first black woman to win the award in 34 years, relished in her victory by bellowing powerful lyrics about being an “Endangered Species” and imploring others to never give up on themselves no matter how long it takes to be seen.
“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. This is what striving looks like!” Ralph declared.
Ralph's honor comes after decades in the business with multiple iconic roles. Ralph starred from 1986 to 1989 in the syndicated sitcom It's a Living and later had the leading roles in the short-lived ABC sitcom New Attitude (1990) and CBS medical drama Street Gear (1995).
From 1996 to 2001, she starred as Dee Mitchell in the UPN sitcom Moesha, and from 2013 to 2015 as Maggie Turner in the Nick at Nite sitcom Instant Mom. As of 2022, Ralph stars as Barbara Howard on the ABC mockumentary sitcom Abbott Elementary.
Ralph, the daughter of late Jamaican fashion designer Ivy Ralph, was born in the US but was raised between Mandeville, Jamaica, and Long Island, New York.