Viola Davis She says that even in her Hollywood stature, racism has persisted regularly for her…especially from a man who apparently referred to her as his hired assistant.
The actress – who has already won an Academy Award, among other awards – gave an interview to Variety at the Cannes Film Festival about Women in Motion… and expressed the idea that despite her high level in the business world, there are some barriers that she seems unable to overrun.
One of those barriers is getting certain scripts written with darker-skinned black women as the lead — like a dark, middle-aged black woman in her fifties going through a sexual awakening, she explains — while suggesting that Hollywood still frequently digs into stereotypes and “fits in.” When it comes to the appearance of the actor. She’s alluding to coloring here, btw.
But, the most shocking tale she tells at the same time is about an old director she knew and befriended by mistakenly calling her “Louise”… his maid’s name.
Now, Viola has explained that this happened relatively early in her career — when she was around 30, she says — but she still feels that these kinds of “micro-assaults” happen all the time.
Her biggest point, of course, is that black actors haven’t been given this great material to work with film to be able to direct Oscar-worthy performances like their white counterparts…unless they’re playing roles with stereotypes and/or formulaic stories.
The other interesting thing about “Louise” commentary is that Viola has played a maid before – in 2011’s “The Help”… a role she was proud of at the time, but has since said I regret doing it Now because he didn’t raise the profile of black characters in a meaningful way.