Viola Davis Gets Real On Gender Pay, Inclusion In Hollywood And The Surprise Request For Her Natural Hair In 'Widows'

September 4th 2018

With the fifth season of How To Get Away With Murder set to premiere on September 27 and the heist drama Widows slated to theaters in November, it should be enough reason to rename autumn as Viola Davis season.

In a cover spread for Variety, the Academy Award-winning actress discussed her in the upcoming Steve McQueen directed pic, curating nuanced portrayals of women of color in film, the gender pay gap and her solution to solve Hollywood's problem with inclusion.

Credit: Williams + Hirakawa Credit: Williams + Hirakawa

Davis, who stars as Veronica Rawlins in Widows, admitted her shock and pleasant surprise when McQueen requested she wear her natural hair for the role, partially due to the stigmatization surrounding black women's hair. “You’re always taught as a person of color to not like your hair,” Davis told Variety. “The kinkier it is, the so-called nappier it is, the uglier."

Given the recent groundbreaking portrayals of women of color of films such as Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, Davis echoed a sentiment many executives in Hollywood never seem to comprehend: we are not a monolith. In addition, women of color are not only demanding to be seen but to be paid equally as white women. "We don’t get paid what Caucasian women get paid," the South Carolina native asserted.

In the same vein, Davis also took time the acknowledge the trickle down effect of having more executives of color at the top, urging that having more women of color at the top will translate to more depictions of them on our screens. "I go to a lot of women’s events here in Hollywood, and they’re filled with female CEOs, producers and executives, but I’m one of maybe five or six people of color in the room,” the Fences actress told Variety.

Widows, which revolves around four widows who step up to complete bank heist their husbands failed to complete, has already drawn favorable comparisons to the 1996 classic Set It Off. The film which also stars Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki will be in theaters on November 16.

 

by Jordan Simon on September 4th 2018

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