HTGAWM's Viola Davis: Emmy Speech Felt Like 'Dying a Quick Death' (Video)

Viola Davis‘ Emmy win was famously followed by an acclaimed acceptance speech that brought fellow Shondaland actress Kerry Washington to tears.

Be that as it may, the How to Get Away With Murder star was almost sure her historic moment had gone south.

Talking with Seth Meyers on Tuesday’s  Late Night, the TGIT all-star admitted that she couldn’t get a sense of the reaction on stage, and thus feared she was “dying a quick death” as the first African-American to bring home the gold for Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

“I felt the great wall of silence,” she said. “My husband afterwards said, ‘Vee, I didn’t know where you were going with that.'”

As you might recall, the actress thanked those who helped “redefine what it means to be black” on television, including fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Scandal‘s Washington and Sleepy Hollow‘s Nicole Beharie.

Watch an excerpt from Davis’ interview above.

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9 Comments
  1. Jess says:

    I loved her speech. Race issues are obviously a very hot, and sensitive topic right now. I feel that Viola Davis managed to acknowledge them, but in a way that acknowledged the positive change that’s been taking place. It was also lovely to see her share that moment with some of the other great women of color currently on fire in the TV world.

  2. Yolanda says:

    Yeah at first I thought wtf was she talking about and then when it was halfway over I got it. I know she wanted to make a passionate speech but gurl next time be better prepared.

    • Luk says:

      she was as prepared as she could possibly be. Just because you had to listen 30 seconds before understanding where the speech was going doesn’t imply anything on her preparation.
      I found the beginning of her speech enchanting, -just because- it was not obvious.

      • lechatnoir says:

        She was prepared and kept it minimal , succinct and on point. She knew people (aehm…) would have a *can’t she be happy she got the prize*? She was not being ungrateful. How can a person of colour snag an emmy when there are no roles available?

  3. Danny says:

    First, I love Viola Davis. She was remarkable in “Doubt” and “The Help.” But Emmy acceptance speech was ludicrous, and [of course] the idiotic media applauds it. She won an Emmy. She didn’t cure cancer, win a Nobel Peace Prize, or become first female-elected President of the United States. What’s more, her series (which was entertaining in its first season; I haven’t seen season two) celebrates violence and lies. So for David to compare herself to a slave like Harriet Tubman is EXACTLY why race relations have stalled in this country. Davis won an Emmy because she’s an excellent actress, NOT a black actress. Her acceptance speech should have acknowledged the gratitude and accolades she had received for her work. It was lamentable that Davis saw color more than anyone else on Emmy night. I mean, she WON. Give it a rest.

  4. shelley Williams says:

    I loved and agreed with the comments Viola Davis expressed does Hollywood, and will they do more/better by women of color?