Viola Davis

Viola Davis's Powerful Presence in Film and Advocacy


Oct. 20 2023, Published 12:28 a.m. ET

Actress Viola Davis is a powerhouse presence in Hollywood, and she is revered as one of our most accomplished Black actresses. While slaying all of her iconic roles, Davis has also gained a reputation for being a dedicated activist and philanthropist. While the Oscar winner has done a lot of work to eradicate world hunger and protect voting rights, much of her efforts have been focused on changing Black representation on the big screen. Her prolific career has been visual proof of her excellence and a reminder to Black people that anything is possible.

Look Back At Viola Davis’ Illustrious Hollywood Career

Known in this generation most for her iconic role as Annalise Keating on the hit show How To Get Away With Murder, Davis has been excellently gracing our screens for over two decades. She grew up as the second youngest of six siblings, and despite enduring a rough childhood, Davis rose to incredible heights in her career.

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She is one of the rare entertainers to achieve EGOT status (winning a Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award). She's also the first Black actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting (Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award) and to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Davis is a force to be reckoned with in her field, with various nominations and awards from the Screen Actors Guild, Critic's Choice, BAFTAs, and Globe Awards.

Viola Davis is a fierce advocate for black representation in film and television.

When Viola Davis winning awards, she is speaking up about the racial disparities in Hollywood. “There are no words to describe the journey, the sweat, the blood, the war, that is being a Black artist and being a Black female artist,” she told Essence while promoting her film, The Woman King. “If people understood what goes on in the room, what goes on in the studio, what goes on in a heart, what freaking dies in us at times."

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Through her advocacy efforts, Davis has been vocal about the need for more Black actors and actresses in lead roles and the importance of accurately portraying Black stories on screen. She has spoken openly about the struggle of acquiring roles despite having so many accomplishments already. To combat these issues and be a part of the solution, she and her husband, Julius Tennon, founded JuVee Productions to produce projects that give opportunities to more minority actors and actresses.

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Viola Davis's Journey Reminds Us to Dream Big

Viola Davis's pioneering work in film and television has proven that anything is possible with determination, grace, and hard work. From The Help to Air, she has continually made strides to change the status quo in Hollywood — pushing the idea of diversity and inclusion front and center. Her perseverance encourages us all to take risks despite the odds stacked against us.

From her love story with Julius Tennon to her highly decorated career and philanthropic work, she has repeatedly proven that dreams do come true. As Davis once said, "All dreams are within reach. All you have to do is keep moving towards them.”

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