Viola Davis was a double winner at the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, recognised for her performances in How To Get Away With Murder and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, for which she’s been nominated for an Oscar, becoming the most-nominated Black woman in Academy history.
This factored into Kathleen’s question for her in the press room after the Image Awards this weekend – and by the way, I screamed when I heard KNB’s voice coming through this clip – when Viola was asked about what the Image Awards mean to her, considering Hollywood’s history of excluding Black talent.
Viola Davis on the importance of the #NAACPAwards: "I don't know if I can say 'I look forward to the day when there's no NAACP Awards,' because listen, we're dope, right? But I look forward to the day when we no longer have to teach people how to see us" https://t.co/nm9bwwBAMb pic.twitter.com/k2MODH0dyx— Variety (@Variety) March 28, 2021
“We’re dope, right? But I look forward to the day when we no longer have to teach people how to see us.”
This is what resonated the most with me – the labour that Black and Indigenous people have put in to be considered as equals. That would be double, and triple, labour. Because they’re also doing the work of being artists, of creating, and concurrently, along with that, there’s what Viola’s talking about and the work to “teach people how to see us”. For the rest of us then, even other people of colour, allyship is about amplifying that work, and working on our own, to engage with stories that may be unfamiliar to us, and learn from them, and to recognise when, sometimes, our own stories have been limiting. This… is not a lesson that Sharon Osbourne, for example, seemed to be open to.
In other Viola news, she’s prepping to play Michelle Obama for the upcoming The First Lady anthology series. On Friday she joked with Jimmy Fallon that taking on the role was “temporary insanity” before confirming that she and the former FLOTUS had already spoken “for several hours”. Needless to say, Viola is probably privy to some information, in shaping her performance, that will probably never be public – and she’ll never share. But it takes an extra someone special for Michelle Obama to trust with the details and with the performance.
Back to Viola at the Image Awards and her outfits this whole award season have been award-worthy, including this one:
Kathleen would like it to be known that she had a broad wide-ranging conversation with Viola and it has not been mentioned enough that she told Viola that she liked her hair and nails. To which Viola replied “thanks, girl”. And Kathleen has not stopped living off of the moment.