Sheryl Lee Ralph has anointed Dianne Reeves’s classic deep-cut, “Endangered Species,” the song of champions. Taking the stage at the 2022 Emmy Awards to accept the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, the Abbott Elementary star broke out into an acapella performance of the track.
“I am an endangered species/But I sing no victim’s song,” she belted in an operatic, soulful tone. “I am a woman I am an artist/And I know where my voice belongs.”
Ralph delivered a similar performance of the song on Sunday during her appearance as an honoree at the Creative Coalition’s Television Humanitarian Awards Gala Luncheon. This time, she was in the presence of her Abbott Elementary crew, driving the root of the song’s core message.
“Have you ever had a dream and thought your dream wouldn’t – couldn’t – come true?” she asked. “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.”
Highlighting the team that got her through, Ralph passionately added: “Because if you get a Quinta Brunson in your corner, if you get a husband like mine in your corner, if you get children like mine in your corner and if you’ve got friends like everybody who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me – thank you. Thank you.”