Sterling Brown Makes History By Winning Best Actor at the SAG Awards

This Is Us actor becomes the first becoming the first Black actor to win Best Actor in a Drama Series, and used his speech to talk about #MeToo.

Brown was also the first Black actor to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Drama and was the first Black actor in nearly 20 years to win an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama.

Brown plays Randall Pearson in the NBC drama This Is Us, which also scooped up the gong for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series last night. Brown’s character is adopted by a white family, and the series explores his experiences, along with other issues to do with identity, oppression and acceptance.

The enthusiasm and celebration of Brown’s achievement was felt in the room at the SAG awards – and was even mentioned by the presenters of the Best Actor award, Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash.

As Munn went to open the envelope and announce the winner, Nash interrupted her, saying “Wait, wait, wait. If it’s Sterling K. Brown, can I say it?” Nash interrupted. As Munn asked why, Nash deadpanned “Because he’s Black” – a comment that caused Brown to raise his fist in the air.

Munn and Nash also took the opportunity to make a dig at the lack of representation of Asian characters onscreen, with Nash assuring Munn that “you can say anybody’s name who is Asian that’s nominated.” There was no such nominee in the category, which included Jason Bateman (Ozark), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), David Harbour (Stranger Things) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul).

When Munn opened the envelope, Nash gleefully announced that Brown had indeed won, and the actor took tot the stage to give a rousing speech not only about representation, but about his role in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement.

“For me, it has been a wonderful opportunity to take stock that I actually have privilege — that I have male privilege and recognizing that I take a lot of things for granted,” Brown said. “It’s always the responsibility of the minority to understand how to negotiate the majority’s world – Black people have to know how to live in a white world. Gay people have to know how to live in a straight world. Women have to know how to live in a man’s world.”

Specifically with Time’s Up, Brown said that, for him, it is about recognizing things that he has not registered and that he isn’t as conscientious of as a man.

£There is a responsibility that we have to make sure that our work environment is comfortable for all, because it’s not always about malicious and nastiness,” he said. “Sometimes it’s about downright thoughtlessness, and we can all stand to be a bit more thoughtful.”

 

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