Quinta Brunson clinched the title of Best Actress in a Comedy, portraying the relentlessly optimistic second-grade teacher Janine Teagues on ABC’s Abbott Elementary. This achievement makes her the first Black woman to secure this category since Isabel Sanford’s win in 1981 for The Jeffersons.
Expressing her joy, Brunson remarked, “I love making Abbott Elementary so much, and I am thrilled to live my dream and perform comedy. I say it every time, but I just love comedy so much that I am ecstatic to receive this recognition.”
This marks Brunson’s first acting Emmy, as she is also the creator and writer of Abbott Elementary, a series about the lives of devoted teachers in a Philadelphia public school. While she secured her first Emmy last year for best writing in a comedy series, she also earned a nomination for best actress (won by Jean Smart for “Hacks”).
At the 2023 Emmys, Brunson also made history as the first Black woman ever nominated for comedy series, lead actress, and writing in the same year, representing the first season of Abbott Elementary. Her triumph in writing made her the second Black woman to win after Lena Waithe for Master of None. Notably, her co-star, Sheryl Lee Ralph, became the second Black woman to win supporting comedy actress for Abbott’s first season since Jackée Harry from 227 in 1987.
Brunson now joins the ranks of the few Black women nominated in the lead comedy actress category since its inception in 1966, standing alongside Diahann Carroll (“Julia”), Sanford, Nell Carter (“Gimme a Break!”), Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), and Issa Rae (“Insecure”).