Michaela Coel, creator of HBO and BBC’s I May Destroy You made a short, yet powerful speech at the Emmys, and if there’s one thing you do today: watch that.
The I May Destroy You star was nominated for four Emmys and won an Emmy for Best Writing in a Television Limited Series or Movie. This is the third time a Black creative has won the category and the first for a Black woman.
Coel’s speech was dedicated to survivors of sexual assault, something which is explored in I May Destroy You. But the speech was also directed at writers themselves, who might be deterred from writing from the soul — because that’s not what ‘success’ looks like.
“Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable,” she said in her speech.
“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 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.”
Michaela Coel’s speech was raw and as a writer myself, I felt seen. It’s hard to do what feels true to you, when social media puts you under a microscope.
I think there’s a lot we can take away from the speech, and I’m not just talking about writers. Coel’s point about not being afraid “to disappear” and to see what “comes from you in the silence” was extremely poignant.
Slowing down and stepping away from the grind/or from trauma can sometimes be what we really need. Sometimes that’s when we actually do our best work.