Viola Davis Recalls Hearing That Black Actors Thought She Wasn’t Pretty Enough for ‘How to Get Away With Murder’
In her upcoming memoir, Finding Me: A Memoir, Viola Davis reveals she received criticism about her looks from other black actors.
The 56-year-old actress reveals that after she was cast for ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, she faced scrutiny over her physical appearance from fellow Black actors due to her being darker-skinned. The experience is detailed in a lengthy New York Times profile where Viola Davis recalls when a friend came to her after overhearing several black actors/actresses say that,
“she [viola] wasn’t pretty enough to pull it off.”
While Viola Davis dealt with racist and anti-black comments in the past, this experience was a little harder to process since the negative remarks were coming from her own people.
In the memoir, Davis also reflects on her childhood experiences with racism, detailing an anti-Black attack that occurred when she was in the third grade. She explained she was often chased home in Central Falls, Rhode Island, by a group of boys, who regularly hurled insults, slurs, threw stones and bricks at her.
On this particular day, the group physically caught her and while some of the boys pinned her arms back, the leader of the group — who was Black like her though he “identified as Portuguese to differentiate himself from African Americans— called her ugly and a “Black f**king” N-word. When a young Viola Davis responded, “You’re Black, too!” he punched her.
Thankfully, Davis took the job and proved everyone wrong despite the negative comments from her hollywood peers. Viola Davis appeared as Annalise Keating in ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder from 2014-2020. For her performance, Davis became the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Viola Davis’s memoir Finding Me: A Memoir, will be available April 26!
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