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Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis Make History With Emmy Award Nominations

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With Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis snagging 2015 Emmy award nominations, it is a great year to be an African American woman on television. Considering an African American has never won Lead Actress in a Drama, Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson both have a chance to make history on September 20 at The 67th Primetime Emmy awards.

“I never really got into acting for awards because it’s weird when you try to compare art,” said Henson during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I just have to stay focused.” However, she said she was “grateful” and “honored” to receive the nomination. “I know that this is something that a lot of actors can’t say.”

During a round-table interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Davis talked candidly about her fear of taking on the lead role in the series How to Get Away With Murder (HTGAWM).“It was one of those things where I had no precedent for this role. I had never seen a 49-year-old dark-skinned woman, who is not a size 2, be a sexualized role in TV, film, everywhere,”she said. “When I actually saw myself for the first time in the pilot episode, I was mortified,” she explained. “I saw the fake eyelashes. I saw the wig. I was like ‘Are you kidding me? Who’s going to believe this?'”

Well, in light of the recent Emmy nod, Hollywood is ready to start recognizing the influence of African Americans on TV, film and in entertainment.

[Related: Viola Davis to Play Abolitionist Harriet Tubman in HBO Movie]

“This was truly a remarkable year in television,” said Rosenblum during a statement released by Emmy.com. “From the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live, to David Letterman’s retirement and the conclusion of Mad Men, television’s creativity, influence and impact continue to grow and have never been stronger. From broadcast, to cable to digital services, our industry is producing more quality television than ever before. Television is the pre-eminent entertainment platform with extraordinarily rich and varied storytelling. The work of our members dominates the cultural discussion and ignites the passion of viewers around the world. All of us at the Academy are proud to be honoring the very best in television.”

Here are a few other African Americans nominated for Emmy awards:

David Oyelowo
Queen Latifah
Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle (in the same category)
Uzo Aduba
Cicely Tyson
Khandi Alexander
Andre Braugher
Keegen-Michael Key
Niecy Nash
Regina King
Angela Bassett
Mo’Nique
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Also, Key & Peele received six nominations as a show.

The 67th Primetime Emmy awards airs on Fox on Sept. 20 at the Microsoft theater in Los Angeles, California, and will be hosted by Andy Samberg, star of Brooklyn Nine Nine.