Viola Davis Talks About Getting Roles As A Black Actress!

By Kathrina Tiangco

Posted August 2nd 2018



After filming the crossover shows How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal, Viola Davis knew that she and fellow actress Kerry Washington were making history. Davis shared that putting two strong women whose characters are well-written and are both women of color is truly black girl magic at its best.

In 2015, Davis won an Emmy award for her role as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder. Who could ever forget her acceptance speech? The actress made a powerful speech about the need for creating roles that aren’t there.

As an actress, she also shared how people who looked like her always landed roles that are mammas, crackheads and soulful sisters but her role in the series as a powerful lawyer broke the stigma of casting black actresses in stereotypical characters. It’s a proof that times are changing.

She also described her experience of playing a sexual character. For many decades in her career, it was painful for her not to have been given the opportunity to explore that kind of role. She always thought that in order to play that kind of character, she had to look a certain way.

Now, she realized that she is mirroring the women and it’s not her job to be sexy but it’s to be sexual which makes all the difference. Not everyone who has sexual roles is required to be a size zero or two and has straight hair.

She also explains that when a producer or a director looks at a role that is not specific to a race, they can only picture an actor of color if the film is in an urban setting or a civil rights period. Otherwise, they don’t see a black actor in the story. The actress adds that people should understand that they shouldn’t look at people of color portraying one type of role.

They don’t always have to be slaves. She could be cast in a romantic comedy and be seen the same way as Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman. Davis also acknowledges that these actresses deserve everything they get paid for but so does she along with other black actresses such as Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer to name a few.

She continues to hope and fight to change the gap in their salaries. At the same time, she wants to help improve the society for the next generation which her six-year-old daughter now belongs to.



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