Michaela Coel and her brilliant work for the limited HBO series I May Destroy You have previously been snubbed at major television award shows. In the past, fans have expressed their frustration and disappointment for the lack of recognition given to the show, which is centered on navigating life and recovery after sexual assault. But at the 2021 Emmys, Coel's work finally won big.
I May Destroy You won the 2021 Emmy for "Outstanding Writing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie." And Coel, who wrote the series and was its main lead, also made history as the first Black woman to win the award. The writer and actress gave one of the most memorable speeches of the night.
"I just wrote a little something for writers, really," she said. "Write the tale that scares you. That makes you feel uncertain. That isn't comfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others, to help us better 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."
Coel concluded, "Do not be afraid to disappear. From it, from us, for a while — and see what comes to you in the silence."
The writer also dedicated I May Destroy You to "every survivor of sexual assault." Watch her full speech, below, and read PAPER's July 2020 cover story with the Emmy Award-winning star, here.