Last Sunday at the 2017 Emmys, Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) gave the greatest acceptance speech ever. It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t political, but it spoke directly to TV fans across the world as he thanked his fellow nominees and saluted past winners who’d taken home the Best Drama Actor prize. “Before anything like this happened for your boy, I was a fan,” Brown began. “First, last and always, a fan.” Watch Sterling K. Brown’s Emmy speech above.
The emotional kicker to Brown’s speech was when he referred to former Emmy winners by their iconic TV character names, including Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Andre Braugher (“Homicide: Life on the Street”). “This one right here? Like, this one right here? When I think about it, Walter White held this joint. Dick Whitman held this joint — I may have lost some of you all, but you know, Google it.” He continued, “And 19 years ago, Detective Frank Pembleton held this joint, as impeccably played by Andre Braugher. I just wanna say, Mr. Braugher, whether it is at Stanford University or on this Emmy stage, it is my supreme honor to follow in your footsteps.”
Brown then went on to thank his “This Is Us” cast members, whom he dubbed, “The best white TV family that a brother has ever had. Better than Mr. Drummond. Better than them white folks that raised Webster.” Those were two more television references, this time to “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Webster.”
His final salute to TV was when he thanked his on-screen wife Susan Kelechi Watson, telling her, “It is my pleasure to rep black love with you, sister. Let’s keeping doin’ it like Martin and Gina.” That, of course, was an allusion to the characters on “Martin,” played by Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell.
Though Brown got played off by the Emmy orchestra because the ceremony was running long, the television star (and soon movie star) was able to finish his speech backstage in the press room — watch it below. This was Sterling K. Brown’s second consecutive Emmy after winning Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor last year for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”