Actress Viola Davis says all her actions in life have always been acts of protest.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Davis shared that her protests did not begin with the surge in racial justice activism this year.
“I feel like my entire life has been a protest. My production company is my protest. Me not wearing a wig at the Oscars in 2012 was my protest. It is a part of my voice, just like introducing myself to you and saying, ‘Hello, my name is Viola Davis’,” she said.
The actress also shared that she regretted doing 2011’s “The Help”. She said she took the time to further elaborate on how the film’s storyline caters primarily to its white viewers.
“Not a lot of narratives are also invested in our humanity. They’re invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but it’s catering to the white audience,” she said.
Davis feels while the film provides some insight into some of the experiences of Black Americans, its structure doesn’t bend towards a greater culture of understanding.
She doesn’t regret working with the cast and writer-director, but it is the film’s insight into her character, Aibileen, that set it on the wrong path by telling the story through a white perspective.
“The white audience at the most can sit and get an academic lesson into how we are,” she said, adding: “Then they leave the movie theatre and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were.”
“There’s no one who’s not entertained by ‘The Help’. But there’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to (tell the whole truth),” she said.