Viola Davis Makes Powerful Speech About Women of Color During the Emmys

Lead Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images

Viola Davis made history at yesterday’s Emmy awards. The How to Get Away With Murder star became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. When Davis hit the stage to accept her award, she delivered a heartfelt speech about the lack of opportunities for women of color. After quoting Harriet Tubman, Davis got frank. “And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Taraji P. Henson, who gave her a standing ovation, and Kerry Washington were visibly moved by Davis’s speech. In return, Davis thanked them and other black women for leading the way. While we were all ??, Nancy Lee Grahn was being a hater. She initially said that she didn’t like the speech and wished that Shonda Rhimes had written her speech. In case you were like ok but who TF is Nancy Lee Grahn, never heard of her – you’re not alone. Apparently she was on General Hospital.

Grahn eventually apologized after people criticized her. After the awards, Davis spoke more about acting and race. She called on Hollywood to stop typecasting people of color, according to the International Business Times. “One of the things I admire about Shondaland is Annalise Keating was not written specifically for a black woman,” she said. “I made her black because I’m black…”

In his opening monologue for the show, host Andy Samberg also took on sexism and racism, saying that though this year had “the most diverse group of nominees in Emmys history,” it really wasn’t saying much, according to The Huffington Post. Other than Louis C.K. and Richard Cabral, there were no other Latinos nominated in the acting categories, but at least this year, they didn’t present Sofia Vergara on a rotating platform like a piece of meat, so we guess that’s something. Instead, this year, we are left with this amusing GIF of Vergara snacking on popcorn during the show.

Us Weekly
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