"If there has been any backlash, it s that all people want to feel included in a speech," Davis says
Viola Davis made Emmy history last weekend when she became the first black star to win outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her work as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder.
Twitter overflowed with support for Davis, 50, after her inspiring acceptance speech about the need for more diversity in Hollywood.
“The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
But General Hospital actress Nancy Lee Grahn made headlines after tweeting that Davis is “elite” and “has never been discriminated against,” adding that she wished “she’d brought every woman in the picture” instead of focusing on her experience as an African-American performer.
Grahn, 57, spent the rest of the night (and wee hours of the morning) apologizing on Twitter. And in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, Davis addressed her comments for the first time.
“If there has been any backlash, it’s that all people want to feel included in a speech. I know there has been some backlash with an actress who didn’t feel she was included,” she said.
When asked if she was referring to Grahn, Davis responded, “Yes. I don’t know that I want to say more about that.”
“First of all, that was like the second or third time we hugged through the night,” David told the NYT of their on-air embrace during the ceremony. “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.”
Davis also discussed her historic win on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday – and how she calmed her nerves by drinking prosecco before hitting the red carpet.
“While I was getting in hair and makeup, while my daughter was jumping on my lap, I drank,” she said, laughing. “I just guzzled the glass.”
How to Get Away with Murder season 2 premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.