Viola Davis made history last night at the Emmy’s becoming the very first African-American woman to win best actress in a drama for How To Get Away With Murder. Traji P Henson, who was also nominated in the category, gave Davis a tight hug as she went up on stage to a standing ovation to receive her award.
Davis took the stage very aware of the history she just made marking her historic moment with a very moving speech that even brought some audience members, including Kerry Washington, to tears. She opened her acceptance speech by quoting Harriet Tubman by saying ” In my dreams and visions, I seemed to see a line, and on the other side of that line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and a beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms to me over the line, but I couldn’t reach them no-how”.
Davis then goes on to say ” The only thing that separate women of color from everyone else is opportunity. You can not win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there”. Davis then proves that black women stick together by shouting out her just as deserving and equally as talented black actresses, Traji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and Kerry Washington. Shondra Rhimes has played a major role in the representation of black women on television by creating hit television shows like How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal.
The lack of diversity at awards show is no secret, host, Adam Samberg, joked about it at the beginning of the show by saying ” This is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history, so congratulations, Hollywood, you did it! Yeah. Racism is over! Don’t fact check that.”
There was other black girl magic popping off last night as well. Regina King won Outstanding Supporting Actress in Limited Series or Movie for her role in American Crime and Uzo Aduba won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as ‘Crazy Eyes’ in Orange Is The New Black.
Watch the heartfelt and very necessary speech below.