Viola Davis Is "Overwhelmed" By Your Support

by Kadeen Griffiths

I'm not going to lie. I woke up with an extra pep in my step when I remembered that Viola Davis won an Emmy at the 2015 Emmy Awards, especially considering she became the first black actress to ever, ever, ever win in that category (Lead Actress in a Drama Series). Even though I found the night, overall, to be pretty weak on the diversity front, there were so many historic moments that happened during the ceremony that that almost makes up for it. Naturally, celebrities congratulated Davis on her Emmys win, praising her, or her speech, or the history-making moment that everyone will be talking about for years. On Tuesday, Davis responded to the support for her Emmys win on Twitter, and, honestly, she should win an Emmy for her personality. It seems that, two days later, her humility and happiness hasn't faded at all.

Davis began by stating how overwhelmed she was by the fact that she is near-universally being celebrated for this win, even by people who were initially rooting for Taraji P. Henson or Tatiana Maslany to land the award instead. She then went on to thank the Academy, to give a shoutout to all her fellow Emmys winners, and even to give her thanks to Oprah Winfrey — revealing that Winfrey sent her an actual congratulatory gift to celebrate her win. (What do I have to do to get Oprah to send flowers to me?!) Her response just makes the historic Emmys moment even more heartwarming, because it truly sinks in that Davis is deserving of this award both on a professional and personal level. She seems like a wonderful person who dedicated herself completely to bringing as much emotional depth and nuance to a role, to Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder, as she could, and actually saw those efforts pay off for the first time at the Emmys.

Every time Davis ascends the stage to accept an award, she always has a poignant speech prepared on the state of diversity in Hollywood, using her platform to make an impact and to take a stand on behalf of black actresses. At the 2015 SAG Awards, she said, "[thanks to everyone for] thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African American woman who looks like me." She followed it up with another impactful statement at the 2015 Emmys, in which she pointed out, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here's to all... the awesome people... who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman. To be black." Preach.

If Davis wasn't already your personal hero for helping to break through the glass ceilings that black actresses have been buried under at the Emmys (seriously, in 60 years, she's the first black actress to win for Lead in a Drama?), or your personal hero for the important speeches she makes when she accepts those awards, then she should become your personal hero for how gracefully and happily she's handling her win. Check out her tweets below.

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