On Saturday, Nov. 7, ESPN features producer Michael Holmes stood on a stage in Austin, Texas accepting the Lone Star Emmy for “Sports Program Feature/Segment.”
Just a few minutes earlier, he sat at his table running over a brief acceptance speech that he suddenly realized he should revise.
In his acceptance speech, he smoothly inserted: “I would like to thank my beautiful fiancée of two-days. . .” to the great applause of the audience.
Holmes proposed to his girlfriend, Julia Russell, just a few days before snagging his third personal Lone Star Emmy.
He won the hearts of the Emmy attendees that night in the same way he had won over television audiences with his emotional portrayal of Texas basketball star Imani McGee-Stafford in the feature “Her Voice.”
“This feature started off as a pitch about a women’s basketball player who does slam poetry, and quickly evolved into the powerful story of a survivor of molestation, depression and multiple suicide attempts,” Holmes told Front Row.
“Imani showed great bravery in sharing her story with me and I can’t explain how honored I was to have the opportunity to help her tell it,” he said. “She faced more in her first 18 years than most of us encounter in a lifetime and didn’t just survive; she chose to use her experiences to help others going through the same thing.”
Holmes said he believes the LHN feature also helped McGee-Stafford.
“I think the thing I am most grateful for is that the actual telling of her story opened up a new world of acknowledgments and activism for her,” Holmes said. “There‘s something special about getting to be a part of the story and knowing that your work opened up doors for someone to do great things.”