Viola Davis Talks Being Looked Down on For Being an African American Woman In Hollywood

Viola Davis

Viola Davis’ acting career has soared to new heights these past few years. Her career first skyrocketed in 2011 with her supporting role as Abileen, a maid during the civil rights to a very rich white family, in the book-based movie, The Help. This past year she starred in How To Get Away With Murder as Annalise Keating, a lawyer/professor who is known to win every case she is presented with.

Recently in an interview with Entertainment Weekly Viola Davis pointed out that before playing Annalise, she had never seen black women who looked like her, dark-skinned and middle-aged, allowed to be sexual in movies or television. In her words, “There were a lot of things that people did not allow me to be until I got [the role of] Annalise Keating. I was not able to be sexualized. Ever. In my entire career. And here’s the thing that’s even more potent: I’ve never seen anyone who even looks like me be sexualized on television or in film. Ever. When people say they’re tired of hearing that, I always say, ‘Okay, well, you give me an example and then I’ll stop talking about it. But I’m gonna talk about it until you hear it.” 

Davis said she was surprised when she received the role due to her appearance (African American and female In the past, she wasn’t allowed to have these roles and was either rejected or given something less sexual or demanding. However, since she has played the role of Keating, she no longer cares what people think—they either like her or they don’t.

“I don’t want anyone putting any limits on me, “I am tired of it. Because as a human being, there are times when I don’t know who the hell I am until the situation presents itself.” 

African Americans in the media have been looked down for decades. It’s great to know that Viola Davis is going to stand up for herself, no matter what the color of her skin is.



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