When Viola Davis won the Emmy Awards in 2015, the actor gave a stirring speech that impelled those in the audience to stand up and take notice. “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. But I can’t seem to get there any how. I can’t seem to get over that line,” she said.
“That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she stressed.
Speaking on the contribution of others on redefining what it means to be black, she said, “So, here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes. People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”
She finally concluded the speech acknowledging her colleagues who paved the way for others, one role at a time. “And to the Taraji P Hensons and Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goodes, to Gabrielle Union. Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you for the Television Academy. Thank you.”
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