A Viola Davis clip has gone viral for comments she made a few years ago calling out the inequities in Hollywood.
The video was part of an interview with Tina Brown at the Women of the World event back in 2018. Davis addressed the pay gap between Black women and white women in the entertainment industry.
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“I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver. They all came out of Yale, they came out of Julliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them, not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, nowhere close to it,” Davis explained.
“But I have to get on that phone and people say: ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep…There is no one like you.’ Okay, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth. You give me what I’m worth.”
Many people deeply felt Davis’ words with actresses like Gabrielle Union reposting the clip. “This!!!!!! All day THIS!!!!” Union captioned her tweet.
Davis’ words continue to resonate as Black people across industries are calling out systematic racism in light of the recent protests against police brutality. Companies and decision-makers in sectors like the food services industry, the music industry, and the movie industry are being called out for years of an unfair and unjust way of operating.
Just last week, Davis was one of the many Black actors to sign on to the Hollywood 4 Black Lives letter, which made demands such as divesting from police, investing in anti-racist content, and more Black leadership in executive positions.
The campaign was launched by the organization BLD PWR, which was founded by Davis’ “How to Get Away with Murder” co-star Kendrick Sampson. BLD PWR seeks to “engages culture, education, and activism to build and train an inclusive community of entertainers and athletes to advance radical social change.”
When it came to addressing representation in-front of the camera and behind the scenes, the Hollywood 4 Black Lives letter explained:
“Our agencies, which often serve as industry gatekeepers, don’t recruit, retain, or support Black agents. Our unions don’t consider or defend our specific, intersectional struggles. Unions are even worse for our below-the-line crew, especially for Black women.”
With the support of Black people in unions and agencies, decorated actors like Viola Davis can finally get the support they deserve.
In an interview with Porter magazine, Davis explained further, “If Caucasian women are getting 50 percent of what men are getting paid, we’re not even getting a quarter of what white women are getting paid.”
You can check out people’s praise for Davis’ words of resistance below.
Give Viola Davis Her Flowers: Actress Goes Viral For Past Comments On Hollywood’s Inequities was originally published on newsone.com
Viola Davis ATE Meryl Streep UP in this scene! Stop the comparisons and the empty ass compliments Hollywood!— Jessica Fyre 💫 (@TheJessieWoo) July 1, 2020
Run Viola Davis HER COINS 💰 pic.twitter.com/6vqpK719UJ
Viola Davis is not "the Black Meryl Streep" she is "THE Viola Davis". ⚪ is not the gold standard by which everyone is measured against. Pay Black people what they are worth. https://t.co/ORigsJYw3e— BlackWomenViews Media (@blackwomenviews) July 1, 2020
On behalf of ALLLLLL the Black women who appear on TV. Or, I suppose, exist anywhere. This this this this👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽 https://t.co/oNyzQLBOew— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) July 1, 2020
Viola Davis has been underestimated, undervalued and marginalized because of the cultural conditioning in the United States. We have to be better. https://t.co/FzMAYmT7NS— Joe Madison (@MadisonSiriusXM) July 1, 2020
THIS is just a hint of why I'm so proud and pleased to be working with Viola Davis on Wild Seed and in general. She moves with CLARITY. https://t.co/k5RLB3csFh— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) July 1, 2020