Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jackée Harry are the only two Black actresses to win an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, 35 years apart. Harry took hers home in 1988 for her role as Sandra Clark on 227 while Ralph garnered her win in 2022 for her role as Barbara Howard on the hit sitcom, Abbott Elementary.
Ralph recalled her mentor, Tony-winning actress Virginia Capers, telling her “‘Be as kind as you can, for as long as you can, to as many people as you can because the same a**’— and she said it—‘you kick today, you may have to kiss tomorrow.’ That has just been so good for me because how many times has the young person that has brought me coffee turned out to be the producer in the next five to 10 years?”
Unbeknownst to her, Capers was right. Ralph remembered meeting Mara Brock Akil — creator of Girlfriends, The Game, etc. — on the set on Moesha.
“[She] brought coffee to me at ‘Moesha’ and I’m so happy I was nice to her because she’s a big time producer now. Does what she wants to do.” The Jamaican icon also mentioned being talked off of the proverbial, egotistical “cliff.”
Harry, admittedly, didn’t receive the same guidance, causing karma to come back around.
“I wasn’t talked off the cliff. You know who used to bring me my scripts for ‘227’ to my door and deliver them? Kenya Barris,” the Sister Sister star stated of the assistant who would go on to create Black-ish.
“I wasn’t nice to him. See, look at me now. I ain’t lying, and he reminded me of it. He said, ‘Do you remember?’ And wait—ego—I don’t remember, but it was the ’80s baby!”
Watch their full sit-down below.