Renowned performers (L to R) Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lizzo and Zendaya made Emmys history in 2022. (Image Credits, Left to Right: John Mathew Smith, MTV International and KidsOn7, Wikimedia Commons)

This year, television’s biggest night was also, at several points, an historic affair.

While the 2022 Emmys largely rewarded its favorites – there were numerous wins for the cast and crew of beloved Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso,” for example – there were also several ground-breaking wins. 

Here are three awards bestowed upon Black women at the 2022 Emmys that had us cheering from our couches.

1. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Musical Moment of Triumph

Ralph is a stage and screen veteran who has been blowing away audiences since the 1970s. Last night, she finally got her Emmys due by snagging the prize for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, for her work on ABC breakout hit “Abbott Elementary.” She’s only the second Black woman to ever win the award – the first was Jackée Harry, who last won in 1988. Ralph may have earned herself a second Emmy though with her absolutely stunning acceptance speech, which began with a stirring, sung performance of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species,” and finished with some eloquent words on perseverance – with her noting that her presence on the Emmys stage is “what believing looks like.”  (Bonus: “Abbot Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson also won an award for her written work on the show’s pilot.)

2. Zendaya Continues to Be a Trailblazer

Zendaya took home the statue for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance on the HBO series “Euphoria.” It’s the second year in a row she’s won – making history in the process as the only Black woman to ever have been honored in this particular category two times in a row, as well as the youngest. (She also broke a record with her first win in this category, by becoming the youngest person to ever win this award at all.) While accepting the trophy, Zendaya expressed gratitude to people who have shared their addiction struggles with her. “I carry them with me and carry them with [my character, Rue],” she said.

3. Lizzo’s Big Win Was ‘For the BIG GRRRLS’

Until this year, reality competition awards have always gone to traditional television programs. Then Lizzo’s show, “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” came along. The show, available on Amazon Prime, chronicled 13 dancers as they vied for spots on Lizzo’s team. And it’s this year’s Best Competition Program winner – the first streaming show ever to be named as such. Following her acceptance speech, Lizzo tweeted out a touching selfie while holding her new Emmy, her eyes full of tears and elation. “This is for the BIG GRRRLS,” she wrote in the post, along with a raised-fist emoji. As a longtime champion of body and fat acceptance, this win is surely especially sweet for the celebrated singer. (Also, she is now halfway to EGOT status – a distinction we’re guessing she’ll achieve sooner rather than later.)

(Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)