Viola Davis says that even at her status in Hollywood, racism lingers on a regular basis for her … especially from a man who apparently referred to her as his hired aide.
The actress – who has already won an Oscar, among other accolades – did an interview with Variety at the Cannes Film Festival about Women in Motion… and she expressed the idea that despite her high level in the business, there are certain barriers she can’t get over it.
One such hurdle is having certain scripts written with darker-skinned black women as the lead — like a middle-aged, darker black woman in her 50s going through a sexual awakening, he explains. -she – while suggesting Hollywood still very much digs into stereotypes and “fits in” when it comes to an actor’s appearance. She’s hinting at colorism here, BTW.
But, the most shocking anecdote she tells in the same breath concerns a longtime director she knows and is friends with, accidentally calling her “Louise”…the name of her maid.
Now, Viola has clarified that it happened relatively early in her career — when she was around 30, she says — but still feels like these types of “microaggressions” happen all the time.
His biggest point, of course, is that black actors just don’t get as much material to work with in film to be able to pull off Oscar-worthy performances like their white counterparts…unless they’re roles that play in stereotypes and/or stereotyped stories.
The other interesting thing about the ‘Louise’ comment is that Viola has actually played a maid before – in 2011’s ‘The Help’…a role she was proud of at the time, but has since said she regrets having done now, because it didn’t really elevate the black characters significantly.