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Viola Davis breaks colour 'barrier' with Emmy win

Los Angeles: "The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity," said Viola Davis, who broke the colour barrier by becoming the first African-American to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series honour at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday.

Viola Davis poses with the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at 67th Emmy Awards. AFP PHOTO
Viola Davis poses with the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at 67th Emmy Awards. AFP PHOTO 

Davis was honoured for her portrayal of alluring, tough and morally compromised law professor Annalise Keating in the ABC legal thriller "How to Get Away with Murder".

She started her impactful and emotional acceptance speech by quoting Harriet Tubman: "In my mind, I see a line, and on the other side of that line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms to me over the line, but I can't seem to reach them no-how."

A tearful Davis, who has been a two-time Academy Award nominee, added: "Let me tell you one thing: The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.

"So here's to all the writers, the awesome people...Shonda Rhimes (the show's creator), people who have redefined what it's like to be beautiful, sexy, to be a leading woman...to be black."

Davis, dressed in a white gown, also thanked actresses like Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, and Halle Berry, for "taking us over that line".

Henson, among many others, applauded Davis' heartfelt speech, and even gave her a standing ovation.

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