Quinta Brunson Holds Back Tears During Peabody Awards Acceptance Speech: ‘I Cry Every Time’

Quinta Brunson held back tears during her acceptance speech at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards, where she was honored with the organization’s Trailblazer Award.

The waterworks turned on when Brunson opened up about how supportive her ABC team has been not just creatively for “Abbott Elementary,” but also of Brunson’s community service efforts.

“I continue to be grateful to our ABC family — some of them in the room right now — for supporting ‘Abbott,’ not only our vision, not only my work and my beliefs, but the things we’d like to do to help the place where I’m from, Philadelphia,” Brunson said onstage at the Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills on Sunday. “This year, we’re even going to be putting some new murals in the city, which, that might not mean a lot to you, but growing up and looking at different murals while I rode the train encouraged me to create and made me feel like I wasn’t just looking at brick walls, I was looking at something beautiful.”

She continued, “And to be able to put one in the city … I’m not going to cry because I cry every time I get an award. Everyone’s over it and it’s not cute.”

Before Brunson took the stage, the Peabody Awards showed the audience a video montage of her work over the years, which included her appearances on “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” her BuzzFeed content and scenes from “Abbott Elementary.” During her speech, she broke down her purpose in creating the hit ABC comedy series.

“Words cannot express what an honor it is when I do things and make television and write anything, I’m not thinking of — I’m barely thinking about the awards that you get for TV, like Emmys and things of that nature,” Brunson said. “But I’m definitely never thinking that I’m going to get a Peabody Award. This is a dream come true. It makes me believe even harder in the work that I’ve gotten to do. ‘Abbott Elementary’ was intended to just bring people together.”

She went on: “It’s a comedy I wanted to bring — if nothing else — me and my mom and my niece together. We could not find one show together. I wanted to watch ‘Atlanta,’ my mom would have thrown the TV out the window if she saw the things that were happening on that show. She wanted to watch a show called ‘The Real McCoys’ for the millionth time, it’s a black and white show. And my niece was interested in watching TikTok, and I wanted to make something that would bring my house together, because I couldn’t find it on television. I found that in creating ‘Abbott.’ All of the things that came after making that show surprised even me when ABC told us we were going to be able to use our marketing budget to actually give supplies to Philadelphia public schools.”

She concluded her speech by thanking her husband Kevin Jay Anik, her longtime manager Adam Segal and her “Abbott Elementary” writers’ room.

“Last but not least, I want to say thank you to the ‘Abbott Elementary’ writers. I know this award is not for ‘Abbott’ specifically, but they have held me down this season,” Brunson noted. “As my life has gotten busier, they’ve become more and more instrumental and taken care of my show, which is all you can ask for when you are doing three different jobs at once. So if they see this — is this televised? When they see this on YouTube.com, so they know I shouted them out, because I appreciate them so much. Thank you, everyone — have a great night.”

Fellow actor, writer and producer Donald Glover presented the award.

“I’m here tonight because no one fit that description more than my brilliant, very famous and so busy, won’t answer my texts as much anymore, friend Quinta Brunson,” Glover joked.

The 2024 Peabody Awards were the first since the COVID-19 pandemic and the first to ever be hosted in Los Angeles. The ceremony had only taken place in New York City in all of its 83 years prior. Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani served as host for the event.

Quinta Brunson at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Peabody Awards)
Quinta Brunson at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Peabody Awards)

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