Viola Davis has her eye on goals much higher than an Emmy award.
The How to Get Away With Murder star is up for an Emmy later today, but before that ceremony, she attended and spoke at Saturday’s National Women’s History Museum’s fourth annual Women Making History Brunch in Los Angeles. At the event, she told fans and supporters that the Emmy nod is “just a small sign of something far more significant.”
“It’s the impact of my work, I think art matters,” she explained to reporters before addressing the crowd, which included Kate Walsh, Leona Lewis, Anna Chlumsky, Taryn Manning, Amy Brenneman, Diana Ramirez, Edy Ganem and more of Hollywood’s most influential women. “I have to continue that whether I have the statue in my hand or not.”
In her speech, Davis explained that acting is only the vehicle for her true passion: advancing opportunities for women of color.
“I understand that acting is not rocket science. I do,” she said. “But I do feel that it’s an important art form. It is my mission in life to make women of color a part of the narrative in our business.”
She continued, “I feel that come tomorrow, win or lose, I hope that this wave [continues] of seeing Taraji P. Henson, Halle Berry, Nicole Beharie, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union and the nameless, faceless actresses out there that the only thing that has ever separated us in this world, in this business, is opportunity… If it’s not written, we can’t play it.”
Davis also spoke to reporters about how she was feeling ahead of tonight’s Emmy awards.
“Yesterday, I was nervous. Today, I feel good,” she said. “There are expectations. You wonder, If I don’t win, am I a failure? But today, I feel mellow.”