Michaela Coel Makes History as First Black Woman to Win an Emmy for Limited Series Writing

Coel took home the honor for her series, 'I May Destroy You.'

Michaela Coel made Emmys history on Sunday night. The multi-hyphenate became the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. 

Coel took home the honor for her series, I May Destroy You. She created, wrote, co-directed and executive produced the show, which was inspired by her own experience as a sexual assault survivor. 

Coel was up against Brad Ingelsby for Mare of Easttown, Scott Frank for The Queen's Gambit, Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron for WandaVision's "All-New Halloween Spooktacular!"), Jac Schaeffer for WandaVision's "Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience" and Laura Donney for WandaVision's "Previously On."

In her speech, Coel thanked the Television Academy and delivered an inspiring message to writers. She also dedicated her award to survivors of sexual assault.

"I just wrote a little something, for writers, really," she said. "Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that is uncomfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us 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."

"Thank you to Kate, Amy, and various artists unlimited for two of the best years of my life," she added. "I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assault."

In an interview with ET's Kevin Frazier on the Emmys red carpet, Coel opened up about how it felt to be recognized at the awards show. 

"[I May Destroy You] is definitely fictional, but it's inspired by some real-life things that happened to me. It's kind of amazing and weird and overwhelming to be here, to have all of those experiences, plus the writing of the show, and the shooting... to lead us here is something that might take a couple of days to digest," she shared. 

"I was shooting [when I got the news of the nomination], and luckily I was shooting in a forest," she added, "so I just felt very zen and grateful. And then I called my mom."

The 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, aired live Sunday, Sept. 19 on CBS and Paramount+. For complete Emmys coverage, stay tuned to ETonline.com.


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