Viola Davis talks about that incredible Emmy speech, inspires us all over again
Viola Davis may be known all over the world for her stellar performance in How To Get Away With Murder, but she’s perhaps even more well-known for her stunning speech given after receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — the first black woman to ever receive this award. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” she said during her groundbreaking speech. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
That was back in September, but recently, Viola opened up to Seth Meyers about that speech — namely, that she thought she was totally bombing it. “I felt the great wall of silence. I said ‘I am dying a quick death,’” she told Seth during last night’s Late Night With Seth Myers. “My husband afterwards said, ‘V, I didn’t know where you were going with that. I really didn’t! I was real glad when you said Harriet Tubman. I said, she’s bringing it home, she’s bringing it home.’”
Bring it home, she did. Viola’s speech gave us absolute chills. And although she couldn’t foresee the impact her speech would have, she knew she had to highlight the difference between talent and opportunity — that the rarity of her win wasn’t due to a lack of the former.
“Just the size of someone’s talent is not comparable to opportunity,” she told Seth. “There are a lot of talented women of color out there. They just haven’t had the opportunity to shine; a lot of times, we’re the third girl from the left. I just wanted to make the distinction that the reason we haven’t been around—I was the first African American woman to win in that category—is only because we haven’t had the opportunity to shine, not the talent.”
YES. Viola, you are just the best. But did she realize how truly amazing her speech was after the fact? Well, technically, she’s still never seen it. . . because she hates listening to her own voice. “Have you ever listened to your voice?” she asked Seth. “You can’t stand it, right?. . . I’ll call down for room service and they’ll say, ‘Oh yeah Mr. Davis,’” she told Seth jokingly. “And I get so mad, and then I hear my voice and I can understand the Mr. Davis.”
I can only hope this doesn’t mean she hasn’t watched HTGAWM, because she is MISSING OUT on watching her own performance. Viola, thanks for taking a stand time and time again to make this world a better place, both in Hollywood and beyond. Check out the full interview below.
(Image via YouTube.)