Actress Viola Davis stunned the well-heeled audience at the Emmy Awards when she recited a Harriet Tubman quote that seemed out of place in context with the awards show setting.
Davis was honored as the first black woman to win an Emmy in the best actress category on Sunday night.
Sensing she might make history, Davis prepared her acceptance speech beforehand. Her curious speech included the aforementioned Tubman quote:
"In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line."
The New Times sat down with Davis to ask how she related Tubman's quote to winning an Emmy.
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.
Photo: Splash News Online