Viola shows her support by lending her voice (literally) to the new ads for Jaime Harrison’s campaign for South Carolina Senate.
Viola shares why she supports Jaime.
“My grandfather was a sharecropper, my father was a horse trainer, and my mother was a maid and factory worker. We didn’t have much, but I was taught to believe with hard work, strong values, and the opportunity to succeed, you can do anything. That’s why I’m supporting Jaime Harrison. He knows what it’s like to scrape the last penny you’ve got to pay the bills. He’s fought to bring jobs and resources back to our home, and I know that he’ll restore hope to South Carolina.”
In the new Netflix adaptation of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” it’s a sweat-slicked summer day in Chicago 1927 and everybody wants something. White music-industry bigwigs want a new recording from the indomitable Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), a Southern singer dubbed the “Mother of the Blues,” and they want it fast. Her ambitious trumpeter, Levee (Chadwick Boseman), is desperate to put a contemporary spin on Ma’s old-fashioned songs, hoping it will launch his own career.
And what does Ma want, after she’s arrived late to her recording session, caused a commotion on the street and sized up the pleading music men who now swarm her like gnats?
Well, for starters, she wants a Coke. So where the hell is it?
Adapted from the 1984 August Wilson play by the director George C. Wolfe and the screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson, this new take on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” will arrive Dec. 18 on Netflix, though much has changed since the film was shot last year. In August, the 43-year-old Boseman died after a private battle with colon cancer; Levee is his final role.
“He did a brilliant job, and he’s gone,” said Denzel Washington, a producer on the film. “I still can’t believe it.”
Moreover, after a summer of racial reckoning for the country, Wilson’s tragic story of Black Americans navigating a rigged system has become only more relevant. “How can you move forward,” Wolfe said, “when you’re still haunted by the past?”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is the second film adaptation of a Wilson play produced since 2015, when Washington was entrusted by the Pulitzer Prize winner’s estate with bringing his work to the screen. The first, “Fences,” was directed by Washington and won Davis a supporting-actress Oscar; next, Washington hopes to assemble his son John David Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and the director Barry Jenkins for an adaptation of Wilson’s 1987 play, “The Piano Lesson.”
“The greatest part of what’s left of my career is making sure that August is taken care of,” Washington said.
But when Washington and Wolfe first went to Davis to play Ma Rainey, the actress was hesitant. Though she was a two-time Tony winner — for her 2001 performance in Wilson’s drama “King Hedley II” and her role in the 2010 Broadway revival of “Fences” — Davis had never played a diva quite like the real-life blues singer Ma Rainey, and wondered if she even could.
“I thought of 50 other actresses before I thought of myself,” Davis said. “She’s unapologetic, and that extends to her body and the way that she dresses. And trust me — as Viola, in my life, I don’t do that.”
I have added some images from Viola’s role in the film Troop Zero to our gallery.
Viola Davis Online > CAREER > Films > 2019 | Troop Zero
OMG! CAN’T WAIT!!!!!
When James Gunn says, “It’s going to be different from any superhero movie ever made,” he means it! See more in this official first sneak peek behind the scenes of #TheSuicideSquad! #DCFanDome
Check out the cast and characters of the new Suicide Squad Film!
YOU. ARE. NOT. READY. But here we go anyway! Buckle up for the ultimate character reveals from @JamesGunn’s #TheSuicideSquad. #DCFanDome
Excited to share this beautiful new look designed by Claudia from Never Enough Design. Hope you like them as much as I do!
I want to take a moment to wish Viola a very happy birthday! Here is to a wonderful year of amazing blessings and a whole lot of love!
Viola is featured in the new issue of People which hits stands on Friday! She discusses hunger awareness and growing up Food Poor.
The Oscar winner has teamed up with No Kid Hungry to bring awareness to their annual report, The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger In The Wake of Coronavirus
Childhood hunger hits close to home for Viola Davis.
The Oscar winner, 55, who grew up in poverty, is working with No Kid Hungry to bring awareness to the hunger crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This was an issue before COVID,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It’s just that stakes are much higher now because people have been out of work and challenged in terms of their finances, their house, everything. Our scourge is childhood hunger. Food banks that were designated to serve maybe 200 families are now serving 600.”
The program’s 2020 report, The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger In The Wake of Coronavirus, found that half of American families are living with hunger and the numbers are worse among Black and Latinx people. “When all your money goes towards your rent, you don’t have anything leftover or you never had it to begin with,” Davis says. “It’s not just the scourge of kids who are growing up in poverty, it’s also the working poor. We have a problem.”
Davis’ own experiences with hunger growing up have instilled a deep need to help others and promote awareness as well.
“I got a scholarship when I was really young to an acting school and I never had any money for food,” Davis recalls. “Every once in a while, I would bring maybe a bologna sandwich with mayonnaise and I would be so happy. The kids at that school were at the very, very least upper middle class and I remember eating the sandwich and one of the kids going, ‘Oh, that is so disgusting.’ There needs to be empathy and education in understanding the struggles of many of your fellow Americans especially now.”
As for how people can help, Davis suggests to “give of your time and money, but the big thing here is to vote,” she says. “SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] and WIC vouchers are the healing elixir for families that are food-poor. And these programs are being challenged.”
The annual report also uncovered that more than 50% of parents are now skipping meals for themselves or limiting food for people in the family so their kids can eat while almost 40% are not paying bills as often to make sure there is food on the table. “Growing up with hunger was my biggest source of shame,” Davis admits. “It affected my sense of value, my sense of worth. I just felt like there was no one else who had that issue. And the fact that I did, made me weak, even though I had no control over it.”
Now the actress is teaching her daughter Genesis, 10, with her husband Julius Tennon, the importance of self-empowerment. “I encourage her to use any source of expression, whether it’s TikTok, painting, taking pictures,” Davis adds. “I said, ‘Anything about yourself, even the things that you don’t think people will love about you, all of it makes up your beauty.’ I don’t want her to grow up with any shame.”
For more of Davis’ exclusive interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.
Congratulations to Viola!
The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has set a virtual edition for their 2nd Annual AAFCA TV Honors. The private celebration will take place on August 22.
Hosted by comedian and actress Aida Rodriguez, AAFCA will to honor a number of outstanding shows, creators and performers in TV including Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s For Life for Best Drama and HBO’s Insecure for Best Comedy.
Viola Davis (How To Get Away with Murder) and Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) will be honored as Best Actress and Best Actor respectively while Hollywood‘s Jeremy Pope and Laura Harrier will be honored as Breakout Performers.
In addition, Rashida Jones will present Black-ish and #blackAF creator Kenya Barris with the ICON Award for his groundbreaking contributions to television.
A full list of honorees can be read below:
TV Icon – Kenya Barris
Inclusion Award – MACRO Television Studios
Best Actress – Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
Best Actor – Sterling K. Brown, This is Us (NBC)
Best Drama – For Life (ABC)
Best Comedy – Insecure (HBO)
Best TV Movie – The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)
Breakout Performers – Jeremy Pope / Laura Harrier, Hollywood (Netflix)
Best YA – Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
Best Animated – Central Park (Apple TV+)
Best Documentary – Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (HBO) and The Last Dance (ESPN Films/Netflix)
Best Short Form – I Promise (Quibi)
In recognition of the impact of the pandemic, AAFCA will feature first responders, ranging from essential frontline workers like healthcare personnel and firefighters, to government leaders, alongside Hollywood stars, as AAFCA TV Honors presenters.
AAFCA co-founder and President Gil Robertson said “As an organization with a passion for community awareness and outreach, we could not ignore the heroic efforts of those in our larger community during this unprecedented time. This is just a small gesture to recognize them in some way and convey our tremendous gratitude.”
The ceremony will be featured on The AAFCA Channel on YouTube at a later date. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Here are some of the images from the feature done for Vanity Fair.