It’s hard to believe that in that in the 67-year history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, Viola Davis is the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In the entire history of the Emmy Awards, there have only been seven Black women nominated in this particular category. Those multi-talented actresses are Debbie Allen, Alfre Woodard, Regina Taylor, Kerry Washington, Cicely Tyson, Taraji P. Henson and of course, Viola Davis. During her acceptance speech for her role as Annalise Keating in ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, Davis make some riveting remarks. She said, “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.”
It should be noted that before Kerry Washington’s Emmy nomination in the category for Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2013, the last nomination for a Black woman went to Cecily Tyson in 1995 for her role in Sweet Justice. Veteran actress Regina King also picked up her first Emmy last night for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series/Movie for her role on ABC’s American Crime. Hopefully with shows like Empire, Scandal, Rosewood, Jane the Virgin, Minority Report and How To Get Away With Murder, we will be seeing many more women of color get the recognition they so deeply deserve.
Watch Davis’ entire awe-inspiring speech below: