Last night Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series, and her acceptance speech totally blew everyone away.
Viola won the award for her outstanding portrayal of defence lawyer Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder, but she used her historic acceptance speech to bring attention to important issues.
She spoke out about diversity in Hollywood, and gave a massive shout out to other leading African American actresses like Kerry Washington and fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson.
Here’s what her impassioned speech taught us.
1. How to fight for roles that maybe don’t exist yet in your field
Viola spoke out about the drastic lack of leading, multi-dimensional roles in Hollywood for women of colour, bringing attention to an issue that is too often swept under the rug. Classy lady that she is, she paid tribute to all the trailblazing people who have been instrumental in creating the opportunities that do exist.
2. How to take pride your colleagues’ achievements and stick together to overcome obstacles
She made history last night, but rather than speak about her own achievements, Viola gave credit to all the other successful ladies who are helping to change the rules of Hollywood alongside her.
3. How to push for a wider definition of “beautiful” and “sexy” in Hollywood
Looking sophisticated and elegant in her white gown at the Emmys, and in her TV role of Annalise Keating, Viola is redefining what it means to be beautiful – from the inside out.
4. How to take pride in your own achievements while remaining classy
By Reenat Sinay