How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis made history at 2015 Emmy Awards when she grabbed the golden for “Outstanding Lead Actress” in a drama series – thus becoming the first African-American actress ever to win in that category.
The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on the Academy Award winning actress, who kicked off her emotional acceptance speech with a quote that goes back to the 19th century, but sadly, still holds relevance in 2015.
“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,” the 50-year-old began, channeling Harriet Tubman. “But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”
Though Kerry Washington, Debbie Allen, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson and Regina Taylor have been nominated previously, and Empire's Taraji P. Henson was nominated this year, Davis' win has finally cracked the glass ceiling on the lead actress category.
“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she added.
Davis went on to dedicate the award to writers who are creating those roles, chief among them Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes, for redefining what it means “to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”
Check out the video posted above to watch Viola Davis’ speech.
Davis’ powerful speech also set social media on fire, and various celebrities took to Twitter to commend the actress for her monumental speech.
Speechless.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 21, 2015