Viola Davis Talks Being Black In Hollywood: “I don’t have Angelina Jolie/Reese Witherspoon power”
published on Sept. 8 by Shannon
Academy-award nominated actress Viola Davis flashes beautiful smile on the cover of More magazine’s September issue. The actress of the upcoming dramatic tv series "How To Get Away With Murder" is wearing a Donna Karan New York viscose blend bodysuit, Panache balconette bra, Marc Jacobs wool blend skirt and a pair of Fogal nylon blend fishnets. Davis was styled by Jonny Lichtenstein and photographed by Peggy Sirota. The wig was a hot mess, they could have done better in framing her flawless face.
The Shonda Rhimes produce tv series premieres on ABC on Thursday, September 25th. The series sees the actress portraying a brilliant law professor who gets embroiled in a murder plot with her students. Inside the cover story, Viola was very candid about the show and real issues that she relates to like poverty, racism, hunger and sexism.
Here’s what the 48-year-old actress had to share with the magazine:
When she was a child, her family’s move to Central Falls, Rhode Island: The only African-American family in a white working-class factory town, the Davises took up residence in a condemned dwelling. “We lived in abject poverty,” says Davis, who had so little to eat that she wasn’t above stealing food or fishing it out of garbage cans. “It was a childhood filled with the best memories of my life and some of the worst memories. It was a town filled with great friendships that I still have to this day and people who bullied me to the point that it was damaging. But I’m not ashamed of it. I embrace it as a part of who I was. I feel like if I hide it and I fight it, I’m not releasing my blessings.”
Acting buzz came after entering a skit contest & winning as a kid: “There was a lot of name calling and ‘N—–, n—–, n—–,’ and ‘You’re not going to win,’ so we had to be great. And here’s what motivated us: When you’re poor, it infects your mind, it infects your spirit, but we all wanted to be somebody.”
The curse of bullism from the town: “It was a childhood filled with the best memories of my life and some of the worst memories. It was a town filled with great friendships that I still have to this day and people who bullied me to the point that it was damaging. But I’m not ashamed of it. I embrace it as a part of who I was. I feel like if I hide it and I fight it, I’m not releasing my blessings.”
On the reality of being a black woman in Hollywood: “I don’t have Angelina Jolie/Reese Witherspoon power. I can’t walk into a room and go, ‘I want a movie where I play someone sexy, and I want to be the producer on it.’ I don’t have A-list Caucasian actress choices – that’s the bottom line.”
On working with Shonda Rhimes: “Shonda (Rhimes) changed the scope of how we see black women on TV and proved that people will actually tune in, relate to it and enjoy it. In the past, I feel like people thought we didn’t sell.”
Working and volunteering with the Hunger Campaign: “I don’t care if it’s embarrassing. I’m 48. I understand the grand scheme of life and what’s really important. Me saying that I grew up without food, without electricity, without running water at times? It’s a small price to pay to help kids not go hungry.”
For more from the interview, visit More Magazine. Her comment about being black in Hollywood is the antithesis of what some have deem Kristen Stewart’s very cocky, “I’m fortune not to beg for roles” interview. Davis makes a great point in her interview about the scarcity of roles for blacks in Hollywood when they have overcome the obstacle of being in a big budget film the heat dies down eventually not willingly. It is so unfortunate when talent goes to waste because of people’s inability to risk failing with a black actor compared with a white actor. Roles are limited instead of being unlimited even when they are producing their own projects there are many obstacles.