Celebrating Women – Viola Davis, the winner of awards

As Women’s History Month is around the corner, the story of Viola Davis is inspiring to many since she grew up in an impoverished childhood but is now winning Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and even Emmys. 

In total, Davis has won 139 awards and has gotten nominated 314 times. Some of these awards include, a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress in 2016, winning 5 times, the Screen Actors Guild Awards for outstanding performance and the Tony Awards as well for best leading actress. 

Viola Davis is an actress and producer but has experienced the kind of trauma no one knows about or could even imagine. 

“I felt that being an actor was a silly dream for a shy, poor, black girl from Central Falls, Rhode Island,” said Davis. 

Davis was born on August 11th, 1965 in Saint Matthews, South Carolina and was the second-youngest of six siblings. Although her parents worked hard and received a welfare check, as a young child Davis often went hungry, since the money was always gone in a few days. Because of the poverty Davis faced, she was always motivated or convinced to work hard to build a better life and future. 

In 1988, she attended Rhode Island College in Providence on full scholarship and majored in theatre. She then went to the prestigious Juilliard School, which she graduated from after four years, in 1993. 

After graduating she started receiving small roles in films and television, which earned her some awards as well. The show that made Davis famous was How to Get Away with Murder in 2014. She got the main role of Annalise Keating, who people fell in love with right away. The show ran for 6 seasons in total from 2014-2020. 

The show not only helped her gain attention but also helped her to win an Emmy. In 2015, Davis made history by becoming the first ever, black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress. 

In her acceptance speech she quotes Harriet Tubman.

 “I can seem to get over that line,” said Davis. “The only thing that separates women of color from anybody else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she said.”

Still to this day, Davis always mentions her affection for the show, but admits sometimes it was a struggle as well. 

“I worked an average of 21-hour days, and I had to drive 53 miles one way to work, El Segundo Studios,” Davis said during an interview at the Paley Center

At one point, Davis thought she’d never work for television shows again, but the reason she accepted the role of Annalise Keating was to help expand opportunities for Black women. 

She always felt there weren’t enough film roles for Black Women which is why she decided to begin her own production company called JuVee Productions, with her husband, Julius Tennon. 

The award-winning actress opens up about activism and her representation as a Black woman on screen.

“I feel like my entire life has been a protest,” Davis says.

Davis continues to take opportunities and create them for people, especially black women, in the film industry. She is recognized for her advocacy and support of human rights and equal rights for not only women of color but all women. 

Today, she lives with her husband and wonderful daughter who she adopted in 2011. She is also a stepmother to Tennon’s children from previous relationships. 

As a mother, Davis tells her daughter every morning, “Now, what are the two most important parts of you’ And she says, ‘My head and my heart.’ Because that’s what I’ve learned in the foxhole: What gets you through life is strength of character and strength of spirit and love.”

Viola Davis is not only one of the most inspiring and hardworking actresses but has an encouraging, uplifting voice in society and an amazing mother.