Taraji P. Henson: Emmy loss was bittersweet
Empire star Taraji P. Henson wanted to make history as the first black best drama actress Emmy Award winner, so found losing to Viola Davis bittersweet.
Viola received the prize for her role in How to Get Away with Murder at Sunday night's (20Sep15) ceremony, and she gave an empowering speech on stage. Although Taraji was disappointed she didn't triumph, for her, the bigger win is that another boundary has been smashed.
"It was bittersweet, you know what I mean, because we all want to make history and be important to society and everything," she told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. "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...' I just thought to myself, 'God, just please give it to one of us so we will never have to say that again.' Let's just break this barrier down and keep on pushing."
Taraji believes her competitor deserved to be crowned Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, not least because she's been in the industry for so long. In fact, the 45-year-old star would have "felt weird" if she'd waltzed home with the gong, and she believes the universe is probably pleased with the way things turned out.
Now she's focusing on what was perfect about the evening - that she got to experience it with her family, who she brought along to the ceremony.
Viola has been praised for her impassioned acceptance speech, in which she suggested there had been no black winner before now because of a lack of roles.
"Let me tell you something," she said, "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."
It was this which particularly resonated with Taraji, and she laughed that she's not sure she would have made such a mark had she received the statue.
"I feel like the universe needed to hear that message last night," she said. "Had I won, it wouldn’t have been that message.
"I mean, it would have been good. It would have been great, but 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."
- Cover Media