I would like to congratulate, on behalf on myself and everyone at VocaLady Magazine, Viola Davis for her win last night as Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2015 Emmy Awards. Davis won for her role of Professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, a beautiful new show written by Shonda Rhimes, the creator of outstanding TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. For those who do not know the importance of Davis’s win, this is the first time a black woman has won this award in the Emmy’s history.Even greater than winning, Davis delivered a beautiful speech to recognize both her success and the media’s shortcomings in promoting herself and other women of color.
Davis stood, hands shaking around the tiny statue, and recounted the words of one of America’s greatest leaders and most influential women—Harriet Tubman. She went on to discuss the media’s lack of representation for women of color and the difficulty racism places on black actors and actresses in every award category.
Davis thanked her writers for creating Keating, a role she was proud to portray, Rhimes for becoming an important figure in TV history, and every other black actress there who had helped her pave the way for more diverse representation in media. Taraji Henson and Kerry Washington can be seen in the audience with pride and tears in their eyes.
However, not everyone is accepting or understanding Davis’s message. Some have taken to social media to drag down Davis’s accomplishments. Most notably, General Hospital‘s Nancy Lee Grahn used Twitter to speak against Davis. “Emmys not venue [for] racial equality” was sent out last night during the awards. “[Davis] has never been discriminated against” was typed after the Emmy’s final presentations. These tweets are no longer available, having been deleted when Grahn came under fire. In an attempt for an apology, she wrote, “I want equality [for] ALL women”.
Despite people like Grahn trying to belittle a growing societal contempt for racism and lack of representation, Davis’s win at the Emmys last night shows us that there is a great opportunity for change in our future. And, it all begins with some amazing women making their path for us to follow ourselves. In the words of the wonderful Viola Davis, “…so here’s to all the writers, the awesome people—people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.” Thank you, Viola Davis, and congratulations.
To view more of Nancy Lee Grahn’s tweets from Sunday night: Grahn’s Tweets About Davis via Entertainment Weekly
To view Davis’s acceptance speech: Viola Davis’s Acceptance Speech via YouTube