Add Taraji P. Henson to that “just happy to be nominated” cliche category — except she has an actual reason to honestly feel that way about her recent Emmys loss.
The “Empire” actress is just thrilled for Viola Davis‘ “How to Get Away With Murder” win for Lead Actress in a Drama, which marked the first time a black woman took home that trophy. Viewers of Sunday’s Fox awards show could see Henson enthusiastically tear and cheer when Davis’ name was called — and then the Shondaland actress blew everyone away with an equally history acceptance speech.
Henson sat with Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday to talk about perhaps the happiest loss in recent awards show memory.
“It was bittersweet, you know what I mean? Because we all want to make history and be important to society and everything. Then I thought about it. I was like, ‘It’s 2015, and we have a black president and no black woman has ever won.’ Like, ‘This is weird,'” Henson began. “So when I went into it and I knew I was being nominated alongside of Viola, I just thought to myself, ‘God just please give it to one of us, so we will never have to say that again.’ Ya know, let’s just break this barrier down and keep on pushing.”
“I think the universe is happy, Viola deserved that award,” the actress behind Cookie Lyon continued. “And honestly I would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her. Ya know what I mean? She’s been doing it longer. You just got to give respect and know when your time is.”
“It woulda been great,” Henson said on her own planned speech, which she admits contained a different 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.”
Watch the video above.