Taraji P. Henson Praises Viola Davis' Emmys Speech: "The Universe Needed to Hear That"

Taraji P. Henson Ellen DeGeneres H 2015
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

Taraji P. Henson Ellen DeGeneres H 2015

Taraji P. Henson took a moment during her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to praise Emmy winner Viola Davis, who beat her in the  lead actress in a drama series category and became the first-ever black woman to win in the category.

"It was bittersweet," explained the Empire actress. "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. This is weird.' So when I went into it and I knew I was being nominated alongside Viola, 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.' "

Henson has no hard feelings about not nabbing the Emmy herself. "I think the universe is happy. Viola deserved that award, and honestly I would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her," she explained. "She’s been doing it longer. You just got to give respect and know when your time is."

Her stance was reinforced, she said, by Davis' moving speech, which especially thanked writers for creating roles that allow black actresses to shine. "I feel like the universe needed to hear that message last night," said Henson. "Had I won, it wouldn’t have been that message. ... 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."

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