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Viola Davis Felt Like 'Dying A Quick Death' During History-Making Emmy Speech

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 18/11/2015 Cole Delbyck

For her role as the morally flexible Annalise Keating on "How to Get Away with Murder," Viola Davis was the first black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama in the award show's 67-year history. 

Her acceptance speech was one of the most important moments of 2015. 

Standing before her peers, Davis understood the importance of her win and used her platform to tell those watching that, "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."

Although the speech was universally acclaimed, in the moment, "The Help" actress was unsure of the reaction on stage and "said, 'I am dying a quick death.'"

“I felt the great wall of silence,” she told Seth Meyers on Tuesday's "Late Night" show.  “My husband afterwards said, ‘Vee, I didn’t know where you were going with that.'”

It was only later when she realized how well her comments had been received.

In a scene that most likely helped the actress secure her Emmy win, Davis' "HTGAWM" character, who usually maintains a very glam exterior, removes her makeup, false lashes and wig, completely exposing herself. 

At a Paley Center event celebrating the series last Thursday, Davis spoke about the importance of the famous wig scene and authentically representing women of color on television. 

Recalling a discussion between herself and showrunner Peter Nowalk, Davis said she told him, "I want to do something different. You have me in this wig, makeup and tight dress in every scene. You gotta agree that I gotta to take my wig off. I gotta show the world ... what it really means to be a woman of color."


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