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Michaela Coel wins 2021 Emmy for I May Destroy You and delivers speech of the night

‘Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable’

michaela coel in I May Destroy You, sporting pink hair Photo: BBC/Val Productions/Natalie Seery

Michaela Coel won an Emmy for Best Writing in a Television Limited Series or Movie, for her work on HBO and BBC’s I May Destroy You. In addition to writing, Coel also created, produced, directed, and starred in the series. Also up for the award last night were Mare of Eastown, The Queen’s Gambit, and three episodes of WandaVision.

I May Destroy You follows a young writer struggling with the aftermath of a sexual assault and is inspired by Coel’s own experiences. Coel was also nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

After she took the stage, Coel gave a succinct yet powerful speech (a much-needed relief after the previous speech from The Queen’s Gambit director Scott Frank dragged on enough for three moments of play-off music).

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 — do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence. ... I dedicate this story to every single survivor of sexual assault.

I May Destroy You is currently streaming on HBO Max. Here’s a look at all the other winners of the night.

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