Dominican actor Jharrel Jerome makes history with Emmy win & here's why his win matters

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Take one look at Dominican actor Jharrel Jerome, and he reminds you of someone you know. When you hear him talk and see how he acts, you think of a brother, cousin, friend, or neighbor, so that is why seeing him win at the Emmys on Sunday, September 22, was so special. The actor has become the youngest ever to win a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category for his role in When They See Us. And he was also the first Dominican to take home the award. 

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He won the award for playing Korey Wise, who was one of the five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of a rape that took place in Central Park in New York in 1989. Jharrel's earth-shattering performance got everyone's attention, and after his role in another award-winning film, Moonlight, it's clear that his career is just getting started.

Jharrel gave the most humble speech ever.

At just 21 years old, Jharrel became the youngest actor to take home a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. When he got onstage, he said that he felt like he should be in the Bronx waiting for his mom's cooking instead of on the stage for the biggest award show for television. Not only that, but he also dedicated the award to the five men who inspired the story. It was such a touching speech, and he, and his fans, definitely won't ever forget this moment.


This was a historic win for the young Dominican actor.

Aside from being the only Latino actor to take home an award, he was also the youngest to win in this category, the first Dominican and the first Afro-Latino. What a feat!


Jharrel's press room speech was also an important moment.

He acknowledged how this win was bigger than him, and he expressed his wishes for his community going forward. "It's an honor. It's a blessing, and I hope this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro-Latinos. It's about time we are here," he said.

He was the youngest winner in the category. "Is that true?" he said. "That's incredible. It's an honor. Kids are smart too." So sweet!

The real Korey Wise was beaming with pride.

The Exonorated Five were in the audience as Ava DuVernay's guests, and Korey, whose story was portrayed by the Emmy winner, was tearing up as the actor went onstage. Korey's story was one of the most heartbreaking parts of the situation, and Jharrel's performance was so moving. The pair formed a close bond through the making of the series, so it is so special that Korey was there to witness this special moment.


They posed for a selfie together with the golden Emmy.

When They See Us tells the story of the five teenagers from Harlem, New York, who were wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault that took place in Central Park in 1989. They received sentences ranging from five to 15 years, with Korey serving the most time. They were later exonerated after a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

Dominican celebrities began sending out their love for the actor.

Fellow Dominican and Bronx native Cardi B shared the clip of the moment the actor won the award. She captioned it: "So f--kin happy 🥺🥺🥺 @jharreljerome 🇩🇴BRONXNATIVE." It's so incredible to see so many people from the borough thriving in the entertainment world.


Dascha Polanco couldn't hold back her excitement.

The actress, who was also a part of the series, congratulated her costar in the most authentic way. She shared a photo of them at the award show and captioned it: "Dominicans are in the building! ...winning ! Proud of you baby @jharreljerome FIRST DOMINICAN🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴."