2023 NAACP Image Awards: Quinta Brunson on 'Abbott Elementary' Celebrating Black Culture (Exclusive)

The ABC comedy creator and star has already scored a win for this year's annual awards show.

Quinta Brunson stepped onto the 54th NAACP Image Awards red carpet already a winner. The creator and star of ABC's Abbott Elementary earned two wins during the pre-awards festivities which precede Saturday's main ceremony, including Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television). 

"It means the world to me," the actress told ET on the red carpet when asked how it feels to have the recently renewed show recognized by an awards ceremony honoring Black artists across television, music, literature and film. "I created Abbott to be accessible to any and every one, however at the root of that is having the truth of our stories."

"Now, if I made a show that Black people didn't like [but] everyone else did, I would feel like I would not have done my job as a creator in bringing my expertise, my knowledge, my love of our people and culture to the project," she added. "So, for the NAACP to not only like see us, but recognize us and include us in the celebration, that is one of the most fulfilling things I think that has happened to me this year. Because I love us, and I am happy they know that."

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Brunson wasn't the only Abbott Elementary star shown some love from the NAACP Image Awards; costars Tyler James Williams and Janelle James won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively, and writer Brittani Nichols scored a trophy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. 

Sheryl Lee Ralph, who was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her beloved role as Baraba Howard on the series, also shared her gratitude for the awards show with ET. 

"It's just a wonderful thing that people are looking at education and how important it is and that every child in America deserves an incredible education no matter what their zip code is," she said of media recognizing the show's significance and message.

Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET

The 66-year-old actress has quickly become one of the series' breakout stars, earning her several accolades, including her momentous Emmy win, in which she became the second Black actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Ralph shared that she felt no bitterness about being previously regarded as "Blackfamous" for being beloved in the Black community but relatively under the radar in mainstream media. "I don't look at it with a side eye because whenever it comes to you is when it is supposed to arrive for you," she explained. "So I thank God that it has taken me 40 years to become an overnight sensation [and] to have people call me superstar. I'll take it!"

The main NAACP Image Awards ceremony airs on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and simulcast on BET Her, CBS, CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian, TV Land and VH1.


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