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Viola Davis Says “Dignity” Overused to Describe Black Actresses

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Viola Davis: Don’t Use “Dignity” to Black Actresses' Work | Madame Noire

 

The Hollywood Reporter recently talked with Viola Davis about her role in The Help, but when she was asked her thoughts on one critic’s observation that she brought “dignity” to her character, the seasoned actress said she doesn’t care much for that word as it is applied to black actresses. Davis added:

“I love and hate the word ‘dignity.’ I feel it’s overused for black actresses, as with ‘sassy’ and ‘soulful.’ I can go on. The same adjectives are pulled out of a magic box. That’s who she is in the book. My job was to create her.

via Viola Davis: Don’t Use “Dignity” to Black Actresses’ Work | Madame Noire | Black Women’s Lifestyle Guide | Black Hair | Black Love.

kirsten

5 Comment

  1. Now, that’s a beautiful woman. Look at her flawless skin, eyes, mouth and teeth. I wish they made more like that in my home town. Be careful with Herman Cain. I don’t trust him.

  2. she looks mean
    black gossip

  3. After her performances in the movie The Help and the movie Doubt no one will use the word dignity to describe her.

  4. A black woman stating that she doesn’t care for DIGNITY, I guess I’ll be the only one praying for a lil black baby girls as they grow then…shame on Ms(informed) Davis.

  5. I had a completely different take on Ms. Davis’ quote. I agree that the adjectives she was flagging are overused when it comes to roles by our sistahs. It is almost as if, particularly with the word “dignity,” that there is a sense of either surprise that we have dignity or that there is a need for us to have it (as if we don’t already innately possess it). While I had issues with “The Help,” which interestingly seems to play out differently in the community of brothers and sisters who are 70+, many of whom loved it, I felt that Davis did bring an organic sense of dignity to her role as she does with every role I have seen her inhabit. But she also brought more than that. As an artist, I think she is simply wanting to expand critics’ repertoire and sense of possibility when they look at what Black actresses are capable of bringing to their characterizations, i.e., imagination, perseverance, wisdom, intelligence, etc. No matter how victimized Davis’ characters are, she also seems to find that element that allows me to admire their ability to keep on keepin’ on. Given the circumstances of the film industry, that is no small accomplishment.

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