The Evolution of Viola Davis | NowThis


Long before her Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony, and Academy Award accolades, Viola Davis was Her grandmother delivered Viola into the world in a one-room sharecropper’s shack on a former plantation in South Carolina in the summer of 1965. The family moved to Rhode Island soon after her birth and into the dilapidated apartment that would house the majority of her childhood memories and later haunt her in adulthood. ‘It was infested by rats. We would go to bed and hear rats killing the pigeons in the roof.’ Between Viola, her parents, and her five siblings, the groceries bought with their monthly welfare check seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye. They frequently went without food or bathing. She landed in detention at school on many occasions because her hunger and shame made her angry and unfocused. After attending Rhode Island College on a full scholarship, she was one of two dozen actors chosen for a scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York City. Well-trained and strong-willed, Viola In 2000, Viola landed her first starring TV series role in the hospital drama ‘City of Angels,’ which only lasted for 2 seasons. ‘City of Angels’ might not have lasted, but it is where Viola met her husband Julius Tennon, who did a 2-episode stint as an anesthesiologist. It was the Meryl Streep- and Philip Seymour Hoffman-led Although she was only on screen for 2 scenes, Viola was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. ‘Excuse me, but you don’t know enough about life to say a thing like that, sister.’ ‘I know enough.’ ‘You know the rules maybe, but that don’t cover it.’ ‘I know what I won’t accept.’ ‘You accept what you gotta accept, and you work with it.’ In 2010, she won a Tony for her performance in the Broadway production ‘Fences,’ a remake of August Wilson’s 1983 play, which placed her alongside Denzel Washington, who had directed her 7 years prior in ‘Antwone Fisher.’ ‘It’s not easy to admit that I’ve been standing in the same place for 18 years.’ ‘Well, I’ve been standing with you! I gave 18 years of my life to stand in the same spot as you!’ Viola’s scene-stealing abilities would soon put her in the position to Although she received an Oscar nomination for her role as Aibileen Clark in ‘The Help,’ Viola has admitted that she regrets her involvement because Viola has demonstrated the range of her talents on films such as but it’s the characters that tell the untold stories of Blackness that push her off an emotional cliff and into the hearts of millions. In 2016, Viola Davis and Denzel Washington found themselves back in the bitter setting of August Wilson’s 1950s Pittsburgh when their interpretation of ‘Fences’ was adapted into a film. ‘Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me?’ Viola won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her supporting role. On Peter Nowalk’s ‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ of criminal defense lawyer and professor Annalise Keating, In 2015, she became the first African American woman to win a Primetime Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She used her acceptance speech to acknowledge to lack of complex roles being written for women of color. ‘And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.’ And she’s continued to speak out on the need for studios to walk the talk when it comes to creating more diversity in Hollywood, despite perceived consequences. ‘You’re afraid that that movie is not going to make any money internationally. You’re afraid that the demographic of 18- to 34-year-old are not going to tune into your show, so you can’t have a 52-year-old, dark-skinned Black woman in the lead role. And oh my God, we’re going to lose advertisers. My whole thing is, if you’re dedicated to change, let it cost you something.’ Never forgetting the impoverished upbringing that made her, In 2017, Viola Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and high praise from her ‘Doubt’ co-star and idol, Meryl Streep. ‘She’s a force of nature. A geyser of emotion. There seems to be no limit to her source.’ Her circumstances tried to beat her spirit into disillusionment, but she used determination and exceptional talent to fight her way out.

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