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Taraji P. Henson says Viola Davis' Emmy win was 'bittersweet'

By Marilyn Malara
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Taraji P. Henson says Viola Davis' Emmy win was 'bittersweet'
Actress Taraji P. Henson arrives at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept.20, 2015. Henson told host Ellen DeGeneres not winning the Emmy for Best Actress was "bittersweet," but Viola Davis earned it because she's been "doing it longer." Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI. | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Actress Taraji P. Henson isn't holding onto hurt feelings after losing her potential Emmy to this year's Best Actress winner Viola Davis.

Although the Empire star says the loss was "bittersweet," she told television host Ellen DeGeneres during an interview Tuesday "the universe is happy" with Davis' becoming the first African-American woman to win the prestigious statuette.

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"We all want to make history and be important to society and everything," she explained to DeGeneres. "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 in this category. Like, this is weird.' 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.'"

Davis won Best Actress for her work on How To Get Away With Murder, giving a moving speech after accepting her award Sunday.

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"The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," she said while holding the award. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here's to all the writers, the awesome people...people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black."

"I feel like the universe needed to hear that message," Henson said of Davis' speech. "I think the universe orders up what it needs when it needs it."

"Viola deserved that award," she clarifies. "And, honestly, it would have felt weird if I had gotten it over her. You know what I mean? She's been doing it longer. You've just got to give respect and know when your time is."

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