Three sucessful black women won the prestigious Emmy award for their work in television Sunday, Sept. 20. Viola Davis won for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series; Regina King won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie; and Uzo Aduba won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
That night was so significant and historical, especially since Davis became the first black woman to win in her category. To see her, King and Aduba receive awards for their creativity inspires up-and-coming black actresses getting their start in the acting industry.
Not only do these women prove that women of color can break barriers in the acting business, but they also say the same for additional art forms, such as writing, directing, drawing, singing and dancing. Black women can achieve success anywhere if they have the chance and opportunity as Davis said in her speech.
“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she said.
Also during her speech, she quoted Harriet Tubman; she said that she “can’t seem to get over that line,” which is where opportunity is for black women. Davis then gave a shout out to other black actresses. She thanked Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow), Meagan Good (Minority Report), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane), Halle Berry (Extant) and Taraji P. Henson (Empire) for crossing that line. Showing her support for them and their work was very gracious and humbling of her to do in the middle of her moment.
Davis’ speech was quite moving. However, there was one nay-sayer: Nancy Lee Grahn. The soap opera actress from General Hospital tweeted that Shonda Rhimes, a black screenwriter and producer of three hit ABC shows, should have written Davis’ speech. She also said that the Emmy’s was not a place for “racial opportunity.” She thought that all women have not had a fair chance and that Davis “belittled” women.
Supporters of Davis tweeted back, upset at the response from Grahn. She did not understand Davis’ perspective at all; however, she did eventually apologize for her tweets.
Despite this negativity, beautiful support was shown for these women. Henson hugged Davis and King when they won in their category. There were multiple tweets of love and support from black entertainers and fans.
These three women gave hope to black women that night. They reminded us that if given the chance, we can accomplish incredible dreams. Although it may seem small to some, even simply being nominated is a reminder that black women exist, that black women matter, and that black women are unstoppable.