Viola Davis Becomes First Black Woman to Win Lead Actress Emmy
While Andy Samberg did a fine job at pointing out the various racial and gender inequalities still running rampant in Hollywood during his 2015 Emmy Awards opening monologue, he's still a white guy who directly benefits from both of those things. Viola Davis, on the other hand -- an actress whose roles in the entertainment industry are significantly limited based solely on the fact that she is both black and a woman -- has the authority to speak to Hollywood's race and gender divide, and she used her Emmys acceptance speech to do it.
After beating out fellow nominees (including Taraji P. Henson and Tatiana Maslany), Davis became the first black woman to take home the award for Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder. In her speech, Davis extended her gratitude to actresses who helped pave the way for other women of color.
You can read her speech in full below.
'In my mind I see a line, and over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.' That was Harriet Tubman in the 1880s and let me tell you something — the only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Paul Lee, Peter Novak, Shonda Rhimes -- people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black. And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Megean Goods. To Gabrielle Union — thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy.
See Photos From the 2015 Emmy Awards