Viola Davis, daughter appear in photo essay directed by ‘auntie’ Regina King
The pictorial follows a happy family enjoying a day together before they receive devastating news
Regina King directed Viola Davis, her husband Julius Tennon and their 10-year-old daughter Genisis in a project titled Black Americana: A Photo Essay on Love and Pain.
The shoot took place in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles and depicts a “classical portrait of Black American life” for W Magazine’s Directors Issue, out April 6, PEOPLE reports. When Genesis calls King a “legend” during the photoshoot, the One Night in Miami director suggests the child simply refer to her “Auntie Regina.”
King’s pictorial follows a happy family enjoying a day together before they receive a devastating news call the following morning. The actress told W Magazine of the shoot, “I don’t think any of us are particularly happy with the state of America, but we still embrace the fact that we are Black Americans, even with all of the things that have happened in history.”
Adds Davis, “There’s a life beyond the tragedy, there’s life even within the tragedy, and there was a life before the tragedy. That you can be experiencing moments of joy when tragedy comes in and invades your life, and then it melts into something else — we understand that about life in general, but not always with Black folks in it. This is the first time I’ve ever done a photo shoot like this.”
Davis and her daughter recently stunned in outfits from Beyoncé’s Icy Park collection, theGRIO reported. “Thank you @Beyonce!!” the Oscar-winning actress wrote on Instagram in February. “Genesis and I love @WeAreIvyPark’s new #IcyPark collection!!! ?? #AvailableNow #IVYPARK #Adidas.”
People magazine shared a quote from a 2019 interview with Davis, who said her love for her daughter “surpasses anything that I could want from the material world.”
“I empower her to understand that she has to count it all as joy. Even her mistakes, her failures, her triumphs, what she looks like, all of it,” she said two years ago. “That’s all a part of her loving herself, even if none of those things change.”
Meanwhile, King explained to W Magazine that she’s been preparing for a career as a director for longer than she was initially aware. “As an actor, I was paying attention and not really knowing why I was paying attention—why I would stay behind, why I would be on set when it wasn’t even my scene. I didn’t really know why then, but I know now,” she said.
She also noted the importance of collaborating with talented content creators.
“I’m not really interested in being a part of something if it doesn’t feel collaborative, whether it is as a director, an actor, or a producer. By not wanting to include other people’s ideas, you could end up with something really unimaginative,” said King.
Davis explained to W Magazine that she was instantly drawn to this project because King wanted to explore Black life beyond tragedy.
“There’s a life beyond the tragedy, there’s life even within the tragedy, and there was a life before the tragedy,” said Davis. “That you can be experiencing moments of joy when tragedy comes in and invades your life, and then it melts into something else—we understand that about life in general, but not always with Black folks in it. This is the first time I’ve ever done a photoshoot like this.”
theGRIO’s Biba Adams contributed to this report.
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