If she couldn't win the Emmy herself, Taraji P. Henson is happy Viola Davis could.
The "Empire" and "How to Get Away With Murder" stars made history in July when the Television Academy nominated two black women in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. Davis made history again when she became the first black woman to win the award, and Henson was one of the first people to give her peer a standing ovation. Still, Henson is human, and she would have liked to win.
"It was bittersweet, you know what I mean, because we all want to make history and be important to society and everything," Henson said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," airing Tuesday. "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. You know, let's just break this barrier down and keep on pushing.' I think the universe is happy. Viola deserved that award. And, honestly, I 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."
Ellen DeGeneres referenced Davis' powerful acceptance speech, in which she said, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." Henson was proud of Davis, saying, "I feel like the universe needed to hear that message last night.
"Had I won it wouldn't have been that message. I mean it would've been good. Don't ya know!" said Henson, who earned her first Emmy nomination in 2011. "It would've been great! 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."
Henson brought her 91-year-old grandmother to the Emmys Sunday. "She's been with me to the Oscars and I took her to the Emmys the first time I was nominated. I love her so much...It was just a very special moment for her. I treated her like a queen. I flew her out first class. We all got facials–her and my mom and my aunt, who flew with her out here," the actress said. Attending the event with four generations of family members (including her son) made the night extra special. "That to me was the win, the fact that I could do that for my family," Henson said.