Thursday, September 29, 2022

Viola Davis Talks Being Inspired by Cecily Tyson, Embracing Her Identity & More| WATCH

Viola Davis (screenshot)
Viola Davis (screenshot)

*Earlier today, actress and author Viola Davis took part in SiriusXM’s TODAY Show Radio Town Hall to discuss her new book, Finding Me: A Memoir.

During her conversation with Hoda Kotb, Davis shared the importance of authenticity and how her industry should be more accepting of people who are less than perfect:

I said “Here’s the thing, you hired me for the role. That’s not who I am.” You know what. That’s it. That’s not who I am. That’s a very powerful statement. It’s not who I am. I’m not the girl who walks like a supermodel in heels. I admire the ones who do. They look absolutely beautiful. I am not the woman who really is concerned with even being a classical beauty. That’s not who I am.  I am not even the woman who is really overly concerned with putting images out there that are always beautiful and about winning and about success. That’s not who I am. Okay. I am about studying life. I am about showing truth. And you know, here’s the thing. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think truth is ugly, because I don’t think people are ugly. 

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She also discussed how Cecily Tyson taught her to embrace her blackness and follow her dreams:

“What happened with Miss Tyson is we no longer imagined ourselves as these sort of rich, white women. We saw ourselves in the dream. It wasn’t the absence of our blackness and, you know, it was a presence of it where we could dream. And my sisters didn’t even become actors, but it opened the portal for them too because listen, you don’t have that. We didn’t have that as black folk.We just didn’t have it, I mean. I remember back in the day it was Melba Moore, Diana Ross, It was Get Christie Love!, Teresa Graves. That was everything to me. I mean, Isabelle Sanford, LaWanda Page, and Sanford and Son. You tried to hold on to any image, but sometimes you need a physical manifestation of your dream.”

Davis also discussed being afraid of being judged for her book:

You know, we’re living in a world that’s not about forgiveness and healing. I do think it’s for some people, it is. But for the most part it’s about just canceling, judging and that was the fear. The fear was, ya know, it’s like the famous saying, “When you’re known, you’re misunderstood” and I didn’t wanna be misunderstood. I wanted the story to be received. I wanted people to hear it, and I didn’t want people to judge it. Until I realized, “Viola, the onus of telling your story is on you.” You know, it’s like the famous Ann Lamont quote that the definition of courage is fear said with prayers. That it’s not the absence of fear, but it is absolutely the presence of it. But the willingness to risk anyway, is really truly the definition of courage.

The full interview, “TODAY Show Radio Town Hall with Viola Davis” replays throughout today on SiriusXM’s TODAY Show Radio (ch. 108).
source: SiriusXM’s Today Show Radio and/or SiriusXM’s Hoda Kotb

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