Viola Davis took home the Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Sunday night, making her the first Black woman to do so in the Television Academy’s 67 years.
While Davis faced stiff competition from Empire star Taraji P. Henson, it was all love when the winner was announced.
— FOX (@FOXTV) September 21, 2015
Once Davis took the stage she gave an acceptance speech that called out Hollywood’s lack of diversity and affirmed her fellow Black actresses.
“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 1800s,” Davis said. “Let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
— refinery29 (@Refinery29) September 21, 2015
Davis went on to shout out Henson, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry, Meagan Good, and Nicole Beharie for “taking us over that line.”
The How to Get Away With Murder star’s speech was a hit on Twitter, and with her fellow Black actresses.
— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) September 21, 2015
OMG!!! I'm floored… and proud and crying… VIOLA VIOLA VIOLA!!! Thank you for letting us share your shine!!! Man… tears
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 21, 2015
— Nikki Beharie (@NikkiBeharie) September 21, 2015
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 21, 2015
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) September 21, 2015
Viola Davis wasn’t the only Black woman to win big at this year’s Emmys. Veteran actress Regina King took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in American Crime, and Uzo Aduba won for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for Orange is the New Black.