Two actresses had a chance to make Emmy history on Sunday night: both Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson were nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, so both of them had the chance to become the first African American actress to win the Emmy. Viola won for her acting in ‘How To Get Away With Murder.’ Taraji opened up about what it was like to lose to her colleague.
The ‘Empire’ star told Ellen DeGeneres:
It was bittersweet, you know what I mean, because we all want to make history and be important to society and everything. But then I thought about it. I was like, ‘It’s 2015 and we have a black president and no black woman has ever won in this category. Like, this is weird.’ So, when I went into it and I knew I was being nominated alongside of Viola, I just thought to myself, ‘God, just please give it to one of us so we will never have to say that again. You know, let’s just break this barrier down and keep on pushing.’ I think the universe is happy. Viola deserved that award. And, honestly, I would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her. You know what I mean? She’s been doing it longer. You’ve just got to give respect and know when your time is.”
What an honest response! Taraji deserves an award for graciousness. Maybe next year will be her year: she is PHENOMENAL as Cookie on ‘Empire.’
Ellen repeated a point Viola made in her acceptance speech, which is that actors cannot win Emmys for roles that don’t exist (i.e., people of color are not getting the chance to compete because there aren’t many roles for them in the first place). Taraji said about that point:
I feel like the universe needed to hear that message last night. Had I won it wouldn’t have been that message. I mean it would’ve been good. Don’t ya know! It woulda been great! I just think the universe orders up what it needs when it needs it. And I think the world needed to hear what she had to say last night.”
It turns out Taraji had a date for the Emmys that we didn’t get to see on the red carpet: her 91-year-old grandmother!
She’s been with me to the Oscars and I took her to the Emmys the first time I was nominated. I love her so much…It was just a very special moment for her. I treated her like a queen. I flew her out first class. We all got facials—her and my mom and my aunt, who flew with her out here.”
Having four generations of family members there made the night special for Taraji. She said:
That to me was the win, the fact that I could do that for my family.”
That must have been amazing for all of them! Watch a clip of Taraji on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ below.
Photos by FAMEFLYNET