Viola Davis Is the First Black Woman to Win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis Is the First Black Woman to Win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The HTGAWM star makes history at this year's awards.

Published September 20, 2015

Annalise Keating is officially a part of television history. Viola Davis, who plays the bold, sexy leading lady on How to Get Away With Murder, became the first Black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series on Sunday night. Davis beat out Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Claire Danes (Homeland), Robin Wright (House of Cards) and Tatiana Malsany (Orphan Black) for the honor.

After starting her emotional acceptance speech with a quote from Harriet Tubman, Davis went on to talk about the historically marginalized role Black women have played in television. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," she said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here's to all the writers, the awesome people...who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman...to be Black." 

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Davis wrapped up her rousing speech with a shoutout to all the other Black leading ladies in television, starting with her competition for the award, Taraji P. Henson. The Empire actress was the first to stand up for Davis when her name was announced, proving that the significance of the moment meant more to her than winning the award herself.

Executive produced by Shonda RhimesHow to Get Away With Murder has been a fan favorite since it premiered in 2014. Tonight's Emmy win is the perfect way to kick off HTGAWM season, which starts this week with the season two premiere on Thursday, September 24.

The accolades are pouring in for Viola and the entire HTGAWM family. She even got a shoutout from Valerie Jarrett, President Obama's Senior Advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Major girl power!

Watch our exclusive interview with Miss Davis, below. 

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Written by Evelyn Diaz

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