Oscar Winner Spoke At “Women In The World” Summit At Lincoln Center
Viola Davis said despite the successes that African-American actors and casts have had in recent years, the American public – and by extension, Hollywood – still has a major problem with colorism.
“No one thinks a woman darker than a paper bag is attractive,” Davis told MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid Thursday at the “Women in the World” summit in NYC. “They find her mannish. That is the American mindset. And that’s seeped into art… If Julianne Moore came on stage and did a monologue, and I came on stage and did the same monologue, in the same way, would you see it the same way?”
Davis talked to Reid about her life, her work and striving to make Hollywood and the country a more inclusive place. She said that she also wants black actors to simply be able to tell great stories, without critics and others putting more meaning behind their performances than there actually is.
“My goal now is, for actors of color especially, there is a need for us to be didactic, and I don’t like that,” Davis said. “What I mean by that, is that every time we’re on stage and every time we make a choice, there’s a question of ‘so what did that mean?’ ‘What social statement was that making?’ Sometimes we just want to tell a story. That’s it. Sometimes we just want to be.”
The Academy Award winner and activist also said she wants to remind people that there is more than one beauty ideal.
”Not every woman who is sexual is a size 2,” Davis said. “Not every woman who is sexual is walking like a supermodel. And not every woman who is sexual is lighter than a paper bag.”
The “Women in the World” summit continues through Saturday at Lincoln Center.