Sheryl Lee Ralph delivered an electrifying speech at the 2023 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday (Jan. 15) after winning for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
The actor, 66, took to the stage in her gold gown and accepted the award for her role in Abbott Elementary. During her speech, Ralph told part of her story, including the fact that many people told her early in her career that she wasn’t good enough as an actress to be successful. One person did look out though, and it changed her life forever.
“Every mistake, every back break, every ‘No,’ every rejection in an industry that when I was 19 years old was quick to tell me there was no place for me, Sidney Poitier looked at me and said, ‘You're a damn good actress,’” she told the audience.
Referencing show creator and star Quinta Brunson, Ralph went on to say, “That God could lead me to a moment when a young woman by the name of Quinta Brunson would look at me and say, ‘Ms. Ralph, I'm not sleeping on your talent.’”' She also labeled her co-stars “the best cast on TV.”
Ralph concluded her speech with an inspirational message about self love and perseverance.
“To all of you watching, come close to the screen and listen. People don’t have to like you,” she stated. “People don’t have to love you. People don’t even have to respect you. But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see!”
Watch the full inspirational speech below.