I think every actor considers their Oscars speech. You practice occasionally in the shower. Casually take mental notes to add a line in when someone helps you in your career. And you hope that your career will defy all odds and one day you'll actually be able to deliver said speech. But if you're anything like me, you never expected to make an acceptance speech before then.
I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 99 seat theatre for my performance in No Place To Be Somebody by Charles Gordone at the Robey Theatre Company. If you read my post a while ago about that production, you will know it's near and dear to my heart. This was not only my first professional show after college, but I was also performing alongside two of my closest friends. To make matters even better, I fought to nab the role of Cora Beasley who is traditionally (and arguably more aptly) portrayed by an older woman. On paper, I was not right for this character. But in my heart, I knew she lived in me. So when I got in the room I all but begged (and maybe literally begged a little) to read for her.
And I booked it.
Fast forward two years later and I find myself at the NAACP Theatre awards among actors I've admired from childhood. Glynn Turman, Anika Noni Rose, Ledisi, Lillias White, Jennifer Lewis, and so many more were sitting at tables just like mine. Only steps away from me. I was in awe of the experience. I would have counted myself lucky to just be there as a patron much less a nominee.
Then the unthinkable happened. I. WON.
Now I had to make a speech. A speech that I had told my loved ones who urged me to prepare one, was unnecessary. A speech that would be given in front of actors whom I look up to and respect deeply. All I can say is, I will ALWAYS have a speech prepared from now on!
This was truly one of the best nights of my life. I am so honored, humbled, and thankful for this award and this experience. Jennifer Lewis' speech tickled me and educated me at the same time. I hope one day I can meet her. Until then, this video will be reviewed at least once a year.