Viola Davis’ Historical Emmys Speech Met With Twitter Rant from Soap Opera Star, Praised by Oprah
As long as Oprah’s behind you, that’s all that matters.
Viola Davis made Emmys history on Sunday, Sept. 20 when she became the first black actress to take home the award for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.
Davis arose from her seat, overwhelmed with joy, and embarked on-stage to begin her speech with a prolific quoting of 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.”
She asserted that the racial divide in Hollywood is only resultant of a void in creative opportunity for women of color.
“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
“Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy. Thank you.”
Henson stood proud to applaud her fellow actress along with several other celebrities on Twitter. However, soap opera star Nancy Lee Grahn used Davis’ win as an opportunity to air her grievances on the climate for all female actresses in the television industry.
— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
And continued with this now-deleted tweet claiming that (sic), “Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.”
After receiving ample backlash from the internet, Grahn saw herself out by apologizing and calling Davis a “goddess”.
Viola Davis winning lead actress Emmy’s historic. My upset is acting awards dont fix racial injustice. As an actor I see how irrelevant we r — Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
I apologize 2 anyone who I offended. I’m women advocate since I became one. After reading responses, I hear u and my tweet was badly phrased — Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) September 21, 2015
Allow us to return to the Taraji P. Henson’s of the celebrity Twitterverse who celebrated with Davis rather than playing the world’s smallest violin of loosely related woes.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 21, 2015
I love listening to her speak. #ViolaDavis
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 21, 2015
— Samira Wiley (@samirawiley) September 21, 2015
Viola Davis. You are my hero. On and off camera. — Danielle Brooks (@thedanieb) September 21, 2015
Watch Viola Davis’ powerful speech in the video at the top of the page!