During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night, Viola Davis explained the origins of the Harriet Tubman quote in her historical Emmys speech, describing it as “militant.”

Davis said she obviously prepared the speech and knew it was a big deal. “There were two quotes I could go with,” she says. “I said if I go with the Harriet Tubman, they may think it’s militant. Or I could go with the other quote, they may be confused. Let me go militant.”

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She adds, “I’m only kidding. It’s not really militant. But I just thought that that moment was bigger than me. It was bigger than just an actress winning in that category.”

Soap actress Nancy Lee Grahn unwisely tweeted that Davis should’ve “brought every woman in the picture” during her speech. Davis joked to Kimmel that the win maybe makes up for how traumatic it was to lose a beauty pageant to a blonde girl when she was 6.


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.