Michaela Coel dedicates Emmy win for I May Destroy You to 'every single survivor of sexual assault'

The writer, creator and actress made the most moving speech of the night.
September 19, 2021 11:04 p.m. EST

At this year's Emmy Awards, the time allotted before the orchestra plays has never felt shorter, but leave it to master actress and writer Michaela Coel to prove 30 seconds is more than enough to make a statement.

Upon triumphantly accepting her Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for her heartbreaking series I May Destroy You – truly the best of the year, and that's not up for debate – she dedicated her win to “every single survivor of sexual assault.” (You can stream I May Destroy You on Crave now.)

In her speech, for which she dug deep in her purse before making it to the stage, Coel said, “Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that makes you feel uncomfortable. I dare you."

She went on, "In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves and to, in turn, feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear – from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence."

Coel has also made history, natch, as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for limited series writing.

If that didn't leave you in tears, I don't know what will. The groundbreaking series was partially inspired by Coel's own experiences, and kicked off a tidal wave of acclaim in the past year, winning two BAFTA awards, the Peabody Award, and the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama for the series.

Which made it all the more unusual and gobsmacking when it was entirely shut out by the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But who pays attention to those anyway? 

Not to worry, she was also nominated for Emmys for Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series and Best Directing. And, she can also now add author to her multi-hyphenate status, with her new book, Misfits: A Personal Manifesto, which covers everything from speaking your truth to owning your differences. 

More Michaela Coel, in any form, is all we need.

As Olivia Colman said during her acceptance speech for Best Actress, "Michaela Coel, f--k yeah!" 

[video_embed id='2270089']Michaela Coel Emmy acceptance clip [/video_embed]