Historic Emmy win for Viola Davis

‘Murder’ star the first Black woman to win in the drama category

BY YESHA CALLAHAN
THEROOT.COM

It was Viola Davis’ night and the rest of the nominees in the category for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series were along for the ride. Davis, who was joined by Taraji P. Henson in the same category, won Sept. 20 for her role on “How to Get Away with Murder.’’

Viola Davis won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 20.(ALLEN J. SCHABEN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)
Viola Davis won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 20.
(ALLEN J. SCHABEN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)

During Davis’ emotional acceptance speech, her words particularly resonated with every Black actress in Hollywood. Davis opened her history making win, with historical words from Harriet Tubman.

“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, “Davis stated.

“The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity,” Davis said in her speech.

“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Shout out to sisters
Davis then gave shout outs to other Black actresses including Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and Kerry Washington.

Shonda Rhimes definitely had a hand in changing the landscape of television when it comes to their representation of Black women. Before “Scandal’’ premiered in 2012, the last time there was a drama series starring a Black woman was in 1974. Rhimes, who also produced “How to Get Away with Murder,’’ has put the spotlight on lead Black women actresses. And with her picking Davis for the main role, it proves that Black women in Hollywood, not only stick together, but they strive for greatness together.

But it wasn’t only the Black women in Hollywood receiving all of this shine. Actor Reg E. Cathey, won the award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for “House of Cards.’’

During a moment at the beginning of the show, host Adam Samberg joked about the lack of diversity that the awards usually has, but this year was different.

“This is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history, so congratulations, Hollywood, you did it!” Samberg announced to the crowd. “Yeah. Racism is over! Don’t fact check that.”

Uzo Aduba won her second straight Emmy for her work as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.’’ (ALLEN J. SCHABEN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)Right:  Tracy Morgan surprises the audience when he walks on stage and presents the final award of the night at the Emmy Awards. (ROBERT GAUTHIER/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)
Left:  Uzo Aduba won her second straight Emmy for her work as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.’’ (ALLEN J. SCHABEN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)
Right: Tracy Morgan surprises the audience when he walks on stage and presents the final award of the night at the Emmy Awards. (ROBERT GAUTHIER/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)

More winners
On top of Davis’ win, Regina King also won an award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in Limited Series or Movie, for her role in “American Crime.’’

“Orange Is The New Black’s’’ Uzo Aduba won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as ‘Crazy Eyes’.

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