Quinta Brunson, a 2022 recipient and the co-star of Ralph in “Abbott Elementary,” presented Ralph with her award as one of Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood honorees as she walked the stage in the ballroom of the Fairmont Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles.
“Folks been saying to me all afternoon, ‘Why so late?’ This is not late. This isn’t a moment late. This is right on time,” Ralph remarked to her peers, who were listening intently.
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Ralph has long been a Hollywood legend, but she is only now getting her flowers. Whilst many people appear to be perplexed as to why it has taken the business so long to recognize Ralph’s abilities, the actress obviously isn’t bothered by the passing of time.
In addition to winning an Emmy, a Critics’ Choice Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in the popular ABC comedy “Abbott Elementary,” the 66-year-old actress and singer has been dominating the awards season. She has also kept the audience spellbound with her compelling statements after each victory. This one was the same.
Ralph addressed the group of Black people and fellow awardees Tara Duncan, filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood of “The Woman King,” Danielle Deadwyler of “Till,” Dominique Thorne of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and Tara Prince-Bythewood, president of Freeform and Onyx Collective.
The Jamaican-American actress launched her victory speech with music. She aced her own interpretation of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species,” shouting out “I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim’s song. I am a woman – a black woman – I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.”
Ralph stressed ‘self-love’ and ‘living in her truth’ even if people felt she was “too much,” among other things while remembering the tales of Black actors who came before her – Rosalind Cash and Virginia Capers – and praising upcoming young Black talent.
Ralph expressed, “I’m happy to be Black as I am. I love the naps and the curls in my hair. I love my big lips. I love my wide hips. I love every single thing that makes me Black, beautiful, wonderful, talented, empowering, and encouraging. Everything about me being Black. I love it.” She added, “I am too much for some of them. She’s so loud. She’s so happy. She’s so energetic. She’s just so much. Yes, I am. And I am not enough for some of them, but guess what? Do you know who I love? Me.”
Ralph’s engaging address was only one of the afternoon’s highlights, which Boris Kodjoe hosted. The room was filled with comments from awardees and speakers during the celebration of Black women’s achievements in the entertainment industry, reminding attendees of the importance of organizations like Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood.