Viola Davis’ Historical Emmys Speech Met With Twitter Rant from Soap Opera Star, Praised by Oprah

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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.”

Davis sent her appreciation to Shonda Rhimes and the writers of Murder before shouting out to influential women of color on television, including Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, and Halle Berry.

“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.

She began,

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”.  

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:


Shonda Rhimes:




Sean Diddy Combs:


Laverne Cox:


Gabrielle Union:


Samira Wiley:


Danielle Brooks:


Watch Viola Davis’ powerful speech in the video at the top of the page!