Ms. Sheryl often starts her talks with a powerful declaration: "I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim song. I am a woman. I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs." On September 12th, 2022, following the announcement by Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers, Sheryl Lee Ralph found herself in disbelief as she won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in comedy for her role as Mrs. Barbara Howard on the beloved TV show "Abbot Elementary."
Reflecting on that day, Sheryl shares that it was a shocking moment, especially as it was her first time at the Emmys. The win left her stunned, and she couldn't quite fathom how she ended up on stage. In that moment, her entire career flashed before her eyes – from being a 19-year-old in her first movie directed by Sidney Poitier to enduring ten years of persistent rejection. The times of facing continuous "no's" were contrasted with her later success in television.
Sheryl acknowledges that winning the Emmy was accompanied by moments of doubt and disbelief due to the history of rejections she had faced. Standing on that stage, she pondered what might have happened if she had given up after all those rejections and moments of feeling defeated. The weight of the pandemic, political divisions, violence in various forms, climate change, and the overwhelming influence of social media make it challenging for many to believe in the goodness of the world.
Sharing more about her challenging journey, Sheryl emphasizes the real struggles she faced. Despite the hardships, she humorously notes that she looks nothing like what she has been through. Along the way, she learned three essential lessons that helped her believe in herself. The first lesson revolves around the importance of deeply seeing oneself for who they are. Drawing from her childhood experiences, Sheryl recounts being the only Black person in a prestigious private school in the '60s and how her mother's guidance empowered her to deflect negativity.
The second lesson involves the necessity of thinking about oneself in order to believe in oneself. Sheryl shares a disheartening encounter with a Hollywood casting director who questioned her marketability. However, through thoughtful reflection, she turned the negativity into a source of strength, granting herself permission to occupy space in Hollywood. This is what needs to motivate us to continue even in the face of adversity. There will be challenges, there will be mountains to face, there will be people who do no believe in your dreams, but there is power in the way we think about ourselves and see ourselves in the light of who we truly are.
Lastly, Sheryl stresses the significance of acting like one believes in oneself. By embodying confidence and taking action, she believes we can create possibilities that wouldn't exist without that belief. With humor, she encourages everyone to believe in themselves, citing her own journey as an example. If we believe and act in who we truly are, then that's where the real power lies. Never allow anyone to dedicate your storyline, even when negativity is released in your life, return and award yourself with positivity that will return a hundred fold of confidences and reality of your dreams. The world will adjust to the real you that is more authentic and more real to your dreams. Never stop believing in the inside child who can still dream and chase the stars. Sheryl concludes by reminding us that believing in oneself is a powerful act, and she hopes that the mirror becomes a reminder of what belief truly looks like.
About the Creator
I love words! Words are powerful and carry the ability to change one’s world! I love storytelling, by engaging culture, faith and law! I love old country songs and little things make me happy, like the silence that meets us early mornings.