Sheryl Lee Ralph: Best Teacher Ever!
The alumna wins the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in ABC’s hit sitcom Abbott Elementary.
Alumna Sheryl Lee Ralph made history in September at the 2022 Emmy Awards when she won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in ABC’s hit sitcom Abbott Elementary. Ralph RC’75 (a 2002 inductee into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni) is only the second Black woman to win the award, a milestone she celebrated with a memorable acceptance speech that began with her singing a verse from “Endangered Species,” the 1993 song by jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. “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.” Her impressive rendition was a reminder of her Tony Award nomination for her role as Deena Jones in the 1981 Broadway hit Dreamgirls. “To anyone who has ever—ever—had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true,” Ralph said after drawing a standing ovation, “I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don’t you ever, ever give up on you!”