Viola Davis has been one of the main speakers about the lack of diversity in Hollywood and how it naturally spills over to the Academy Awards. This has created a trend on social media and a buzz in the news. However, Viola Davis does not want diversity to be just a “trending topic,” but rather something that should be taken seriously.
Viola Davis took a look at the impact of winning the SAG award for Best Actress in a TV Show for her starring role on How to Get Away with Murder. The same role provided Davis with a win at the 2015 Golden Globe awards, which made African American history. The Screen Guild Awards had a great number of African American nominees and winners, Viola Davis being among them. Idris Elba, the British star who was a two-time winner on Saturday night, near the end of the award show make a joke while introducing a clip from Beats of No Nation, saying, “Welcome to diverse TV.”
Viola, being a prominent voice on diversity in Hollywood, was expected to voice her thoughts, according to Entertainment Weekly. Davis’ statement came when she was backstage after receiving her award.
“We have become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic. It’s just not. I’ve always considered myself an actor since I got my equity card in 1988. I’ve never put any limitations on myself. I felt like I could play Chekhov, any character in Chekhov and Shakespeare in Arthur Miller, in August Wilson. I see myself as an actor. No matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art, and all of the actors of color who I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless of what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will.”
Viola Davis went on to express that viewers should go out and support all type of shows.
“I think that sometimes people feel like stories about people of color are not inclusive. They’re very much inclusive. I mean, the works of August Wilson, which really pretty much made my career, is everyone’s story. I mean, when you watch Annalise [on How to Get Away With Murder], she’s not just a black woman, she is a woman going through her life, you know? And I feel like people forget that in our business, we can’t act alone. You need the actor, you need the writer, you need the director, and finally you need the audience. So I’m just saying, plop your money down to see Race, to see Dope, to see Straight Outta Compton, to see Selma, do support directors like Ava DuVernay, Lee Daniels, Spike Lee, that their stories are just as valid and as important as anyone else. That’s more important than boycotting, is openness.”
The SAG Awards had a great display of diversity, not just with Viola Davis win, but with Uzo Aduba for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and the entire cast of Orange is The New Black for Comedy Ensemble. Idris Elba won Best Supporting Actor for Beasts of No Nation and Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries for Luther. Plus, a win for Queen Latifah in Bessie.
Viola Davis has removed blame from the Academy, as she believes that the blame should be focused on Hollywood. Davis does not support, nor is she against boycotting the Oscars. However, Davis has said that she hopes Chris Rock will take the opportunity as host to make a statement.
Viola Davis is an icon in the entertainment world and will continue to speak out on behalf of both colored and female actors.
[Photo by Rick Polk/ Getty Images]