Viola Davis didn't expect her Emmy speech to be so well received.

The 'How to Get Away with Murder' star - who became the first black actress to win Best Actress in a Drama Series last week - gave an impassioned speech celebrating the recent successes of African-American actresses in TV that was lauded by viewers.

However, Viola admits she wasn't sure how the speech was being received by the audience.

She told ''I didn't know how it was landing. I was up there talking. My husband was like, 'I didn't know where you were going with that thing.'

''I think the most surprising thing is the impact it's made on people's lives. That it wasn't just, 'Oh, you made a really good speech.' It really is, it meant a lot in people's lives and kind of transforming them and shifting them just a little bit.''

In her speech Viola, 50, praised the likes of her fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson and 'Scandal' star Kerry Washington.

Kerry retweeted news of Viola's historic awards win and wrote: ''AMEN!!!! Best speech of the night. (sic)''

Viola also spoke highly of 'Empire' star Taraji for being so ''supportive'' of her victory.

She said: ''[Taraji] is the most supportive actress you can possibly imagine, supportive in ways you can't even begin to understand, and is genuine.

''I've been in this business close to 30 years, and I would put her at the top of this list in terms of support.

''We just whispered to each other, whoever gets it, it's great, it's wonderful and I love you.''