On Sunday evening, Viola Davis became the first African American woman to ever win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. During her heartfelt speech, the How to Get Away with Murder actress used a Harriet Tubman quote the brought her feelings all together. During an interview with the New York Times she clarifies what was meant by the quote as well as the backlash that came from General Hospital actress, Nancy Lee Grahn, for leaving her lasting impression on viewers.

“If there has been any backlash, it’s that all people want to feel included in a speech. I know there has been some backlash with an actress who didn’t feel she was included,” she says. ” I don’t know that I want to say more about that.”

The negativity stemming from such an honor is what Davis is trying not to focus on.

“I’m feeling good! I usually go inside my head and start overthinking things whenever something good happens and talk myself out of the joy. But I haven’t done that this time,” she continues on about her feeling at the time of her name announcement. “I feel like I’ve gotten a really huge response that kind of surpassed the award. Just people admiring my speech makes me feel really good.”

Find out more down bottom.

JaaiR (JR)
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Q. Did you have that Harriet Tubman quotation picked out far in advance?

A. My husband and I are doing a Harriet Tubman project, and when it was picked up by HBO, one of the producers sent me that quote. It struck me in such a huge way because of its progressiveness, so it stayed with me ever since, and that’s been several months. I just felt it was apropos, seeing that no woman of color has ever won in that category. That moment had to be acknowledged, or else it would be a missed opportunity. It would be one of those moments I would look back on, and I would have regretted it.

Q. What did you and Taraji P. Henson, a fellow nominee in the drama category, say to each other when you won?

A. First of all, that was like the second or third time we hugged through the night. She said, “I love you,” and I said, “I love you more than anything in the world, I love you!” That’s what we said. I think at the end of the day, people want to be seen. And I think that’s why it was important for me and Taraji to acknowledge that in each other, to not just feel like it is competition, to just say, I see you, yes, I see you, too. I love you. I take you in.

A very mature and inspiring way to respond to everything. Keep up the good work Mrs. Davis [hand clap].