Viola Davis: I betrayed myself and my people in The Help


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Viola Davis says she feels like she “betrayed myself and my people” in the 2011 film The Help.

Located in Mississippi in the 1960s, it was nominated for several Oscars, but Viola says it was “created in the filter and sump of systemic racism”.

The film was “invested in the idea of ​​what it means to be black” but aimed “at the white audience”.

It’s one of Netflix’s most-watched movies since the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

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Viola Davis starred in The Help with Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard

It is based on a 2009 book that has been accused of perpetuating a “white savior” story – when black characters are marginalized in favor of a white hero who “saves” them.

Viola plays a maid who helps the character of journalist Emma Stone expose racism in the community – and it is not the first time that she says that she regrets this role.

“There is no one who is not entertained by The Help. But there is a part of me that feels like I’m betraying myself and my people, because I was in a film that was not ready to [tell the whole truth] “Viola told Vanity Fair.

Emmy, Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress – first black actress to win the “Triple Crown of Acting” – says she took the part because she hoped it would make her “pop” .

“I was this fellow actor, trying to get in. ”

Viola congratulated the film’s white writer-director, Tate Taylor, and the predominantly female cast that included Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer, whose performance earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

“I can’t tell you the love I have for these women and the love they have for me.

“But with any film – are people ready for the truth? “

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Viola now has a production company with her husband Julius Tennon and will represent Michelle Obama in one of her next shows

Bryce Dallas Howard recently shared his views on aid too.

“I am so grateful for the exquisite friendships that came out of this film – our bond is something that I deeply cherish and will last a lifetime.

“That said, The Help is a fictional story told from the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further, “she wrote on Facebook, sharing a list of films that” center black lives. ” instead.

Viola Davies is now considered one of the greatest actors of all time – but her talent has only really been recognized in the past decade.

Speaking at Vanity Fair, she compared her career – and that of other “unknown and faceless” black actresses who represent earlier versions of herself – to “fabulous white actresses” like Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and Kristen Stewart who had “a wonderful role”. for each stage of their life, which brought them to the stage they are now. We can’t say that for many actors of color. “

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