Over the line

Viola Davis gives rousing speech after historic Emmys win

Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Viola Davis wrote history yesterday when she became the first African-American women to win a Best Actress in a Drama Series Emmy for How To Get Away With Murder. For many, the best part about the historic win was her rousing speech, where she addressed the issue of diversity in Hollywood head-on. “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 opened her acceptance speech, quoting Harriet Tubman. “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.” Davis then thanked several of the writers and producers of the show for embracing diversity, and ended by thanking several other African-American actresses — including Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington and Halle Berry — for “taking us over that line”.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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