The Emmys and a Black Woman’s Voice in America 


Zainab Lodhi

Sammie Garrity, Staff Writer

   Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Emmy acceptance speech was a monumental point in history as Ralph became just the second Black woman to win an Emmy since 1987. She paralleled this monumental occasion by singing a verse from the song “Endangered Species.” This song talks about how despite being shut out of the narrative, this person isn’t going to allow themselves to be victimized. Ralph winning an Emmy is an embodiment of that principle. Ralph relayed how she is a woman, an artist, and is secure in where her voice belongs.  

   Despite being secure in her place in the world and despite these monumental accomplishments, many still attempt to silence her and women like her. The voice of Black women in the media has been a drastically underrepresented voice . This is made clear when Jimmy Kimmel interrupted Quinta Brunson’s speech by performing his own bit. He intentionally stole the spotlight away from her and perpetuated the habit of the media to overshadow the stories and accomplishments of Black women.  

   In the news the next day, this incident with Jimmy Kimmel flooded the screens. There was no emphasis on her speech, her accomplishments. Just about her reaction to him. Even though he was the one that was in the wrong, he was still the one that was in the spotlight. He still got the press and the attention. She was made an aside to his performance.  

   This a major problem because if we, as a society, still prioritize the actions and stories of white men over Black women, we will never move forward. We live in an age where women are supposed to be empowered, and yet we prove time and time again that men’s perspectives and stories still dominate. It is time for writers to start prioritizing the stories of the women who are actually breaking barriers. Kimmel didn’t accomplish anything by interrupting Brunson’s speech, but he did keep her from sharing her story.  

   Her story was inspiring, too. Her three Emmy nominations had made her the first Black woman nominated in three comedy categories in the same year. She is also the youngest Black woman ever nominated as an actress in Comedy. She is an inspiration to many people and got a chance to share her voice when she interrupted Jimmy Kimmel’s show later that week. She asked Jimmy, or in her words, demanded “a couple of extra minutes to thank, you know, a couple of extra people that I didn’t get to on Monday night.”  This was an incredible act of empowerment and one that should be remembered. Not Jimmy’s theft.