So far this awards season, Sterling K. Brown is the winningest black actor, as well as the most history-making actor this season. Sunday night, during the SAG Awards, he became the first black actor to win for Best Male Actor in a Drama. Just a few weeks ago, Brown became the first black actor to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama.
I’ll fully admit–I’ve only seen one episode of This Is Us, and the episode I saw featured an intensely saccharine and sappy version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” sung by one of the main characters. I actually like “Landslide,” but singing competition shows, namely American Idol, nearly ruined “Landslide” for me. I won’t get into my diatribe against the meaning “Landslide” has taken on in the ’00s and beyond, but just suffice it to say “Landslide” has become that song for when you want a shorthand cue for “let’s take this moment extremely seriously.” I’ve never been a big fan of overly-saccharine shows as it is–Parenthood was insufferable to me, and the various generations of parents seemed inept at dealing with anything going on in their kids’ lives. Don’t even get me started on the self-importance I sensed from one of the actresses when I interviewed her for an outlet I worked at years ago.
But, with all of that said, I’m a huge fan of Brown and I’m especially fond of his various awards speeches. He always comes across as a man joyous about his work and even more joyous about his blackness. He’s proud to play a character that speaks to a specific story of blackness in relation to society, environment, and one’s relationship with oneself. His character, Randall, was raised in a white family, and that experience affects him every day of his life. This role speaks to the many African Americans who might not identify with the cultural moments and habits”Black Twitter” claims are the cornerstones to true blackness. This role speaks to those who have grown up in cross-cultural or transracial homes, those who have struggled to define themselves for themselves and not by the rubric society has given them. Randall speaks to those people who fall through the cracks of our “black or white” society. A person is not defined solely through their skin, but through their experiences, their families, and the cultures that influence their worldviews.
However, Brown can speak for himself. Here are videos of his best speeches so far.