Viola Davis says other Blacks didn’t think she was pretty enough for hit show

Viola Davis says other Blacks didn't think she was pretty enough for hit show
Photo credit: Bang media

Celebrated actress Viola Davis reveals in her upcoming memoir that fellow Black actors criticized her mahogany hue and remarked she wasn’t pretty enough to play the lead in the hit drama series “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The Oscar-, Tony-, Emmy- and SAG award-winning actress details her life growing up through tumult borne of racial and sexual abuse in a comprehensive interview with New York Times magazine in advance of the release of her book, Finding Me: A Memoir, which is due for release on April 26, 2022.


Davis elaborates on the horrors she had to endure as an African American and dark-skinned actress in a predominantly White Hollywood landscape. But she was particularly struck when a friend told her that her fellow actors and actresses – all of them Black – did not believe she possessed the looks to lead in the Shonda Rhimes crime drama “HTGAWM.”

She offsets that type of thinking with her experience in The Woman King, a film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood who brought us the classic Love & Basketball. Davis said The Woman King probes the African Kingdom of Dahomey during the 18th and 19th centuries and centers on the very themes that dark-skinned Black women were not supposed to be.


The Woman King reflected all of the things that the world told me were limiting — Black women with crinkly, curly hair who were darker than a paper bag, who were warriors,” Davis told the Times

Davis, 56, who has a daughter, Genesis, 11, with her actor husband of 19 years, Julius Tennon, said her life experiences of pain and survival have made her the person she is today.

“Everything I’ve experienced is what connects me to the world. It’s given me an extraordinary sense of compassion. It’s reconciling that young girl in me and healing from the past — and finding a home,” she says.

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