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NAACP Image Awards: Michaela Coel just delivered yet another brilliant acceptance speech

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Lauren Geall
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Michaela Coel

I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel won an award at last night’s NAACP Image Awards, and her acceptance speech was seriously powerful.

That awful snub by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association earlier this year aside, Michaela Coel is having a pretty good awards season.

On top of already winning numerous awards, including three at the Royal Television Society (RTS) awards last week, she’s also received a whole host of nominations, including one for a Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or limited series.

And last night, she added yet another accolade under her belt, taking home the award for outstanding writing in a comedy series for the final episode of I May Destroy You, called Ego Death.  

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Appearing via video to present her acceptance speech, the writer, actor and director spoke about the process which goes into creating her work, and thanked those who helped her shape I May Destroy You by sharing their thoughts and opinions.

“A writer is only as good as those reading and questioning their work,” she said. “It was important for me to receive opinions of Black people, of queer people whilst I developed these scripts, and they provided me with that.”

Coel continued: “The privilege of writing in the way that I do, is that I get to spend a lot of time on my own in the middle of nowhere – the only interruption to my sense of calm, being the fears my own mind possesses. It was here in this silence that I was able to process my own trauma, in a way that helps me grow. It was here, I was able to both loosen and tighten the sense of myself as a woman, as a Black woman and as a child of working-class immigrants.

“I really hope that more Black writers get this silence to think, sit and give ourselves feedback.” 

Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You
Coel won an award for outstanding writing in a comedy series for the final episode of I May Destroy You, called Ego Death.

The NAACP Image Awards recognise the achievements of people of colour in TV, music, literature and film, as well as those who promote social justice through creative endeavours. Last night’s event was the second of two ceremonies, which have seen awards given to stars including Radha Blank, Barack Obama and Attica Locke.

On top of the award she won, Coel was also nominated in two other categories: outstanding actress in a television movie, limited series or dramatic special, and outstanding directing in a comedy series, for which she was nominated alongside her co-director, Sam Miller. 

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This isn’t the first time Coel has made headlines for her memorable acceptance speech. In her three acceptance speeches at the RTS awards last week, the star used her time onscreen to pay tribute to multiple women, including “the pioneer of the #MeToo movement,” Tarana Burke, and for the Black women who she has watched on screen and on stage, such as Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Wunmi Mosaku and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

“[Without them] I would not enjoy this privilege, this right, to dance, fuck, cry, rage in front of the camera without giving a shit,” Coel said. “Thank you.”

You can see the full list of NAACP Image Awards winners here. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.