by Julian Spivey
History was made at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 20 when Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody when announcing the winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series opened up the envelope and said: “the Emmy goes to … Viola Davis, ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’”
This might sound unbelievable, but Davis is the first African-American in the 67 year history of the Emmy Awards to win the award for Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Going into the night I personally wanted to see Taraji P. Henson win the award for her scene stealing performance in the hit Fox drama “Empire.” I enjoy Davis’ performance immensely on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and agree she is very deserving of her honor, but I just find Henson’s performance to be more enjoyable, not necessarily better, but more enjoyable than Davis’ role.
Despite initially wanting to see Henson, whom obviously would’ve held the same distinction as Davis in being the first African-American actress to take home this coveted award, win I was thrilled afterward that it was Davis who took home the statue because of her impressive and eloquent speech – instantaneously easily one of the greatest speeches in the history of any award show.
Davis remarked about how for years there just wasn’t many leading roles for women of color and now thanks to showrunners like her own Shonda Rhimes and writers and creators willing to now create roles for women of color things are finally getting better for actresses like her in Hollywood.
It was the best speech of the night on a night filled with beautifully eloquent and important speeches like those from “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway and actor Jeffrey Tambor and made you realize she was truly the right winner at the right time. No disrespect intended toward Henson, who very likely could have given a similar acceptance speech as Davis did, but it just felt right for Davis to take this award after hearing her talk about the honor and thanking those who paved the way for her to do so.
If you haven’t yet seen Davis’ acceptance speech you truly must do so …