Speaking during the Hollywood Reporter‘s, “Women in Entertainment” breakfast on Wednesday, Academy Award winning actress, Viola Davis, took the opportunity to let everyone know what was in her heart when it comes to Black women in entertainment.
“What is in my heart is I cannot lead with bullshit,” said the “How to Get Away with Murder” star. “I cannot lead with lying. I cannot lead with the lying about what the road is out there.”
Davis gave the rousing speech about leadership and authenticity during the event on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles. Davis, 53, was being honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award and said she hopes to redefine leadership through her production company, JuVee Productions.
“There is no limit to how we see narratives with people of color,” Davis said. “There is only so much I am going to cow tow to this business.”
Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, started JuVee because she was tired of celebrating movies that didn’t have “me in it.”
“I don’t mean me Viola. I mean me as a Black woman.”
Even when there are Black characters, Davis said, they’re reduced to either being maternal, the savior, or simply being there to “make that white character feel better.”
She urged those in power in Hollywood to showcase more authentic Black female characters and storytelling the way some male Black filmmakers do.
“My main message is stop taming us,” she said. “Everything that we are inside is what makes art in this world rich. There is something to be said about being wild.
“Steve McQueen is wild,” she said. “Barry Jenkins. Ryan Coogler, these people who just dare. Who say you cannot silence me.”