Viola Davis tells the truth about the industry while accepting her historic Emmy: "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there"

Davis is the first African American woman to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama—"How To Get Away With Murder"

Erin Keane
September 21, 2015 7:12AM (UTC)

For her role as the complex and utterly riveting lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating in Shonda Rhimes' freshman ABC drama "How to Get Away With Murder," Oscar nominee and Tony winner Viola Davis became the first African American woman to win the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama.

Davis opened her acceptance speech with a rousing quote from Harriet Tubman, and then launched into an impassioned speech about the importance of weighty TV roles for women of color: "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there."


Davis also gave shout-outs not only to her fellow nominee, Taraji P. Henson ("Empire"), but to fellow Shondaland star Kerry Washington, among others.

Here's the top three moments from the Emmy Awards:

Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's deputy editor in chief.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2015 Emmy Awards Emmys How To Get Away With Murder Shonda Rhimes Viola Davis


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