All Articles Tagged "Viola Davis"

Viola Davis Talks Embracing Her Sexy Through Character Annalise Keating

January 30th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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When I think of strong women who are comfortable in their own skin, Viola Davis is actually one of the first people who comes to mind. However, the Academy Award-nominated actress says getting to this place of seeing herself as sexy didn’t happen overnight.

“It feels awesome. It really does. I love it. I went to Julliard in New York and I always tried to be the 90-pound White girl,” she told Essence.

According the Davis, it wasn’t necessarily because she didn’t like herself, but during her time spent at Julliard, many of the women portrayed in classical works were White, small and dainty, which caused her to try to shrink herself.

“Only because we did a lot of classical training and all of the ingénues in Shakespeare were very small women. So I tried to make myself small. Literally. I don’t know how I did that. I was like thinking, ‘Small. Light.’ I would try to have a higher voice, which sounds ridiculous right?”

Because her definition of “sexy” was so narrow, the actress says that she felt she had to hide herself to be portrayed in this light and also, to fit into these roles.

“I felt like there’s only one way to be sexy. It’s almost like I felt like I had to disappear.”

Thankfully, there are folks like Shonda Rhimes and HTGAWM  creator Peter Nowalk, who are able to imagine sexy female heroines in various shapes and sizes.

“It feels really good to embrace exactly who I am and be my sexy or be my sexualized. To be my woman, you know? And it’s been the joy of my life. It really has and I think it found me at the right time of my life. When I really am very unapologetic for who I am. That helps other women, too. I think women want to see themselves on TV. I really do. I think we’re in the 21st century, I think we have to woman up. I think a lot of women have womaned up and we want to see ourselves and it feels great.”

“And Shonda Rhimes, too, is the one who is fearless with it,” Davis continued. “You see it with Chandra Wilson, with Sandra Oh, Kerry Washington. She does it. She walks the walk.”

Check out Viola’s full interview here.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Abductions, Confessions And A Good Underwire: Scandal And HTGAWM Recap

January 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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scandal and htgawm recap 3

Source: ABC

We’re going to try and do a little something different today since “How To Get Away With Murder” has climbed the ranks to be on par with “Scandal” as one of my Thursday night faves. And since most of us watch both shows, it’s only right that I chronicle both episodes from last night. Particularly since, they were both pretty excellent. We’ll start with “Scandal.”

Last night’s “Scandal” took me through a roller coaster of emotions. You may remember the last episode of the season left us with Olivia being inexplicably abducted from her apartment while Jake went to go get a pillow and blanket. Well, yesterday we found out how–but not exactly why that happened.

Viola Davis And Jennifer Lopez Kick As$ And Take Names In New ‘Lila & Eve’ Film

January 27th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Viola Davis And Jennifer Lopez feat

If you ask me, Jennifer Lopez is at her best when she’s acting. So I was happy to learn that she would be costarring with actress extraordinaire Viola Davis in a new thriller called Lila & Eve. 

The movie poster, which features Lopez and Davis in very Pam-Grier-like poses, projects what we can expect from this movie that is described as Thelma and Louise meets Fight Club. 

Lila and Eve, directed by Charles Stone III (Drumline, Paid in Full and Mr. 3000), is the story of two mothers devastated by the deaths of their children. When authorities say they are unable to find their murderers, a group of drug dealers, they unite to avenge them.

The film will air at the Sundance Film Festival this Friday night.

Interestingly, the film is produced by JuVee Productions, the company Davis owns with her husband Julius Tennon.

Davis launched JuVee a couple of years ago, with the desire to create and produce projects in which she could star. It looks like the plan is working out.

The film doesn’t have a date for a theatrical release but that may change quickly after it premieres.

There’s no trailer for it yet but Davis and Lopez sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonight, a year ago to discuss the project. You can watch their interview below.

“Can You Put Me In The Story?” Viola Davis Talks Diversity In Hollywood During Her SAG Acceptance Speech

January 26th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Viola Davis Talks Diversity In Hollywood During Her SAG Acceptance Speech

Source: YouTube

After the excessively White Golden Globes, we thought the Screen Actors Guild Awards would be more of the same. But fortunately, we were mistaken. Several of our favorite actresses walked away with awards that evening.

Uzo Aduba for female actor in a comedy series and predominately female cast of “Orange Is The New Black,” won for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series. It was so refreshing to see all of those women take the stage last night.

Uzo Aduba delivered a particularly moving speech when she accepted her award.

“I want to say a huge massive thanks to our cast, without whom, this is not possible. I love you guys, so desperately, so much. This is not done without you, at all, any step of the way. I want to thank my friends, I want to thank my family and finally I just really, really truly want to say that the day I got this job was the day I had stopped acting. And to be in a room with all of you amazing human beings, amazing talents, for what I respect and love so much, is really, truly the greatest honor. Thank you so very much. God bless you all.”

You can watch her full speech here.

And when Viola Davis was accepting her award for best female actor in a drama series, she used her daughter as an example for why it’s so important that Hollywood reflect the world in which we live.

“When I tell my daughter stories at night, inevitably, a few things happen. Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life and then I build from there. And then the other thing that happens is she always says, ‘Mommy, can you put me in the story.’ And you know, it starts from the top.”

Then she thanked Shonda Rhimes and the other “How To Get Away With Murder” producers and creators for “thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned, African American woman who looks like me.”

And thank you to all the people who love me, exactly how God made me. And that’s my beautiful husband Julius, my 4-year-old daughter at home, Genesis and my mother May Alice Davis. Thank you so much.

You can watch her entire acceptance speech in the video below.

Style To Steal Or Girl, Stop? Stars Who Slayed And Stunk Up The Red Carpet At The 2015 Golden Globes

January 11th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Golden Globes 2015


Another year, and yet another Golden Globes telecast has crept up on us. Every year we tune in for the jokes (who doesn’t love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler?!), for a peek at some really entertaining new movies, and of course, for the fashion. Here are the looks of a few of our favorites. But do you think their style was on point, or way off?

Viola Davis Wins People’s Choice Award For “HTGAWM,” Thanks Shonda Rhimes For “Thinking Of A Leading Lady Who Looks Like MY Classic Beauty”

January 8th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: ABC

Source: ABC

The People’s Choice Awards took place last night, and one of our favorites, Viola Davis, won Favorite Actress in a New TV Series for her work as Annalise Keating in “How To Get Away With Murder.” Fans of the show, and fans of Davis in general, voted for her to win (as that is how the People’s Choice Awards works…).

When Davis went up to pick up her award, in her acceptance speech, she made mention briefly of that New York Times article that basically said that Davis’ look was far from the “classically beautiful” actresses we usually see on primetime television:

As Annalise, Ms. Davis, 49, is sexual and even sexy, in a slightly menacing way, but the actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series “Extant.”

When she accepted her award, she thanked Shonda Rhimes, producer Betsy Beers and writer Peter Norwalk for giving her the chance to show off her different kind of beauty, the ‘older, darker-skinned’ kind, to everyday women:

“You know we actors, you know we do it for you. We do it for the fans, we do it for the people. We do it to move you, we do it to provoke you. So thank you so much for this. And thank you Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Peter Nowalk for thinking of a leading lady who looks like my classic beauty…I’m just so proud to be an actor and so happy to do what I do.  And I’m so happy that people have accepted me in this role at my stage, at this stage in my career. Thank you so much!”

When that New York Times article first came out, Davis was happy to shut down the “less classically beautiful” line:

“I think that beauty is subjective. I’ve heard that statement my entire life being a dark skinned Black woman…You hear it from the time you come out of the womb. And classically not beautiful is a fancy term of saying ugly and denouncing you, erasing you. It worked when I was younger, it no longer works for me now. It’s like Ruby Dee said, that she wanted that beauty, that hard to get beauty that comes from within, strength, courage and dignity. And what you’re seeing now are so many Black women came out after that article and they used the hashtag “not classically beautiful” or whatever and they’re showing their face and they’re stepping into who they are because they’re teaching a culture how to treat them and how to see them. Because really, at the end of day, you define you. You define you.”

Isn’t she awesome?

We might have another chance to see Davis pick up a big award (and give an equally touching speech), as she has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in A Television Drama Series. The show airs live on Sunday (8ET/5PT)…


Cicely Tyson Joining “How To Get Away With Murder” Cast, But Who Will She Play?

December 16th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Who else is fiending for “How To Get Away With Murder” to return? Well, we’ll have to continue to wait until January 29 to get our fix (and to figure out what Annalise was really doing the night that Sam was killed). But to hold you over and get you excited in the meantime, you’ll be happy to know that acting legend Cicely Tyson will be joining the show (at the very least, for one episode), when it returns to finish out the first season.

According to Entertainment Weekly, details about what role she will play and how long she will be working on the show are being kept a secret. But Tyson isn’t the only theater great joining “HTGAWM.” Actress Marcia Gay Harden will also have a role on the show when the second half of the season starts up, and details surrounding her inclusion have also been kept on the low.

This isn’t the first time that Viola Davis and Tyson have worked together. Both women played maids in the Academy-Award nominated film The Help. Last year the actress won a Tony for her role on Broadway in A Trip To Bountiful (she was amazing in that by the way), and she is currently nominated for a SAG award for her work in the Lifetime TV movie adaption.

I’m not sure what role Tyson will play, but it would be interesting to see her play the mother of the very calculated Annalise Keating, especially if moms is anything like that Annalise! But we’ll have to wait and see…

Viola Davis, Quvenzhané Wallis, “Selma” Land Golden Globe Nominations

December 11th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Golden Globe NominationsThe 2015 award season just got a little more exciting as the Golden Globe nominations for next year have officially been announced and we have a number of favorites to root for. Viola Davis, who acted her behind off as Annalise Keating during the debut season of “How To Get Away With Murder,” has been nominated for Best Actress in a TV Drama; Quvenzhané Wallis,who is bringing “Annie” back to life on the big screen next Friday is up for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical; and the civil rights historical drama “Selma,” which hits theaters this Christmas, has already been nominated for Best Motion Picture Drama with David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr., being up for Best Actor. Director Ava Duvernay has also been nominated for “Selma” as has the movie’s lead song “Glory,” by Common and John Legend.

Our top Netflix comedy “Orange is the New Black” is also up for a string of awards, including Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical with Taylor Shilling and and Uzo Aduba being up for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Don Cheadle also snagged another nomination for his role in House of Lies,” and “American Horror Story” fans will be happy to know Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates have been thrown in the mix for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Check out the full list of Golden Globe nominations here. The show airs January 11, 2015 at 8pm on NBC.


Abi Ishola Responds To New York Time’s Viola Davis Slight With The “Beyond Classically Beautiful” Photo Story

December 9th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Beyond Classically Beautiful

YouTube/ Kunle Ayodeji

This past September, the New York Times published an article stating Viola Davis was “less classically beautiful.” Davis gracefully responded to the insulting phrase on The View, noting: “classically not beautiful is a fancy term of saying ugly and denouncing you, erasing you. It worked when I was younger, it no longer works for me now. It’s like Ruby Dee said, that she wanted that beauty, that hard to get beauty that comes from within, strength, courage and dignity. And what you’re seeing now are so many Black women came out after that article and they used the hashtag “not classically beautiful” or whatever and they’re showing their face and they’re stepping into who they are because they’re teaching a culture how to treat them and how to see them. Because really, at the end of day, you define you. You define you.”In lieu of Davis’ response and Black women creating the #notclassicallybeautiful trend on Twitter, multi-media journalist Abi Ishola launched her own campaigne.

Appropriately titled, “Beyond Classically Beautiful,” Ishloa gathered Black women from all walks of life to share their definitions of beauty and how they struggled with societal acceptance. On her site, Scripts And Sightings, Ishola debuted her photo story  with the help of her photographer husband Kunle Ayodeji, makeup artist cousin Yetty Bames, and colleague videographer Duane Ferguson. In the photo story, a poignant message is relayed to viewers: to be classic means to be of the highest standard. Stating what their highest standards are, “Beyond Classically Beautiful” participants said:

Funmi: “Beauty to me is unique. It’s much more than race and gender or color. To me it’s just personality. Loving who you are as a person.  I think beauty is just like a flame. It’s an unquenchable fire that comes from within. And you have to just allow yourself to let it flow.”

Christina: “My definition of beauty is feeling comfortable in your own skin and not needing anyone to call you beautiful but when someone does call you beautiful you understand where they’re coming from.  If you call somebody a ‘classic beauty’ you’re saying that beauty looks like this one thing, and everything else is outside of what that is, so I don’t believe in classic beauty.”

Nia:“I do not let society’s standards of “beauty” define my life or my decisions concerning my body, my style or any other physical and material elements. I’ve learned to stay true to myself despite what society thinks I should look like or dress like, while at the same time, not letting my physical appearance be the only substance that speaks to who I am and what I have to offer.”

To view Ishola’s entire photo story, read  Scripts And Sightings and listen to the participants in the behind-the-scenes of “Beyond Classically Beautiful” below.

“You Hire Me, You Hire My Hair” Tracee Ellis Ross Talks Natural Hair On Network Television

December 5th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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It’s no secret that Tracee Ellis Ross is something like a hair icon. With luscious, bouncy black curls it makes a profound statement on television. And that point is not lost on Tracee. But she’s not the only one.

In fact, Black women on television, particularly ABC have been ditching the straight strands. Olivia Pope let her curls flourish when she was standing in the sun with Jake on “Scandal.” Tracee, as Dr. Rainbow Johnson on “black-ish”, rocks her natural hair. And perhaps most memorably, Annalise Keating, at the suggestion of Viola Davis herself, removed her wig before she confronts her husband about his extramarital affairs on an episode of “How To Get Away With Murder.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Tracee spoke about the significance of that moment.

“I think what is important about Viola Davis taking her wig off on How to Get Away With Murder is that it illustrates that there is a mask that women are thought to have to wear. For black women, it can be a more complex mask. Our culture has created a very limited view of what beauty is and can be. I think right now television is one of the places where women are pushing up against that and saying, “You know what? I don’t need to play this game anymore in order to be considered beautiful…What I think is exciting is that to a certain extent, there is a revolution happening where black women are owning their own beauty, despite the standard of beauty that in the past has not had space for it.”

And then:

“I think it’s huge that I’m wearing my natural hair texture on ABC in prime time…I’m very conscious of how I wear my hair on the show, and yet it’s the way I wear my hair as Tracee. You hire me, you hire my hair and you hire my ass. It’s all coming with me.” 

And the church said Amen.

I think it’s worth mentioning that one commenter on EW‘s site mentioned that Tracee got the opportunity to wear her natural hair as Joan on “Girlfriends.” And as one respondent offered, that’s true but “Girlfriends” was a show targeted to a demographic who was more likely to accept this type of hair. Wearing her hair naturally on that show was like, “preaching to the choir.” (All types of Black church references for you today.) But “black-ish” on ABC reaches an entirely new demographic and audience, allowing Black women to exhibit a different type of beauty, our natural state of beauty, to people who are still largely ignorant.

It’s a good thing.

The other side of the coin though: the only type of natural hair the mainstream and others in the Black community are readily willing to accept, without hesitancy, comes in the loose, curly form more often than not. While the youngest daughter on “black-ish” has hair that is coarser with tighter coils, it’s largely absent in mainstream media. But hopefully, Tracee and Viola and Kerry will help to bust those doors down as well.