Viola is featured on the cover of the new issue of Vanity Fair and looks amazing!
The Oscar and Emmy winner overcame long odds to make it in Hollywood. Then the real work began.
During the fraught, emotional days after the killing of George Floyd, Viola Davis wanted, more than anything, to be out on the streets of Los Angeles, shouting, protesting, holding a sign. She wanted to join the thousands of others who flooded cities across the nation and around the world to call for justice for Floyd and all the other Black men and women unjustly killed by the police.
“She called me and said she was going,” Davis’s close friend and neighbor, the actor Octavia Spencer, tells me by email. “I immediately talked her out of that.” Spencer and Davis were both concerned about putting themselves or their loved ones with health conditions at risk—and were acutely aware that due to systemic health care inequality, COVID-19 has a much higher mortality rate for Black Americans. “Both of us cried,” Spencer continues. “This WAS our civil rights movement, and we were sidelined because of health issues. We felt isolated from the movement.”
Then they had an idea: What about a neighborhood demonstration with friends and family members who needed to be mindful of their health? They banded together with Davis’s husband of 17 years, the actor and producer Julius Tennon; fellow actor Yvette Nicole Brown; and a handful of others—and camped out on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City. They wore masks, which also rendered them unrecognizable, but even so someone across the street brought them a pizza in a show of solidarity. Davis’s sign read, simply, “AHMAUD ARBERY.”
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