Suicide Squad’s Viola Davis: Women of Color Want to Be “Included in the Narrative”

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We do not deserve Viola Davis. The Suicide Squad actor says great things all the time and we should be listening.

Speaking to Vanity Fair recently (part of the same interview where she revealed Jared Leto’s dead pig incident), Davis spoke about women in Hollywood. Specifically women of color in Hollywood. Her Emmy win last year was history-making and included a very poignant speech. Here’s what she told VF about that experience and why she said what she said:

I was so nervous that I felt like it was overwhelming everything else and then the moment they called my name I became hyper-focused. It’s usually the tears happens, the release happens but as God would have it, it was just the absence of all of that. Because I felt that that moment needed to be about something bigger than me saying that I’m the first African American to win in that role which was about how women of color are included in the narrative. I always want people to understand that without the opportunity you can’t shine. Meryl Streep would not be Meryl Streep without the narrative which is Sophie’s Choice, A Cry in the Dark, The Devil Wears Prada. And it works the same with us. We always want to be included in the narrative as a part of the conversation. I always say just because we’re 12.5% of the population, it doesn’t mean we want 12.5% if the pie. We want the whole pie, just like you want the whole pie, we want it all. All the things that could bring out our gifts.

We see those gifts at play every week on How to Get Away with Murder on ABC but we’ll be seeing them soon again on the big screen with Warner Bros. adaptation of Suicide Squad in which Davis plays the famous Amanda Waller. You may recall CCH Pounder did perfect voice acting for the character in the Warner animated universe, Pam Grier played her on Smallville, Angela Bassett in Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern film, and most recently Cynthia Addai-Robinson on The CW’s Arrow. Here’s what Davis said about the role:

You know, it’s really good to just be a badass, man. I’m tell you, I’m having a blast because I get to be messy. You know, we girls, we don’t get to be messy. We’re always so worried about people liking us and thinking we’re cute. I think the big revelation is, at 50, being a dark-skinned woman of color that people have an understanding that I can be messy, I can be interesting, I can be sexualized, I could be very much a woman. I think that in and of itself is really progressive.

Davis previously spoke to Nerd Report about Waller before filming got started saying, “I’m fascinated by her. I’m fascinated by her in this world of superhero-ness because she is not a woman that you would expect. I think that she is a massive contradiction. She’s this big powerful black woman, hard, ready to pick up a gun and shoot anyone at will. I’m fascinated in exploring her psychology, just put it that way. And I’m excited to pick up a gun.”

She did read up on her though, the next month telling The Hollywood Reporter, “As a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, I love the whole DC Comics universe. I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that’s what you dream about. That’s like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.”

While everything she had to say to VF was fantastic, my favorite part might have been when they asked her what advice she would you give to a ten-year-old girl.

“I say it to my daughter all the time that ‘what’s the most important part of you, Genesis?’ She says, ‘My heart and my head mommy.’ I think that’s the best message I could give to the young girls out there,” she said. Love you. Be you.”

We do not deserve Viola Davis.




(via Nerdist)

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One Response to “Suicide Squad’s Viola Davis: Women of Color Want to Be “Included in the Narrative””

  1. Marie says:

    She’s so fabulous.