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News18 » Lifestyle
2-min read

Viola Davis Feels She 'Betrayed Her People' by Starring in 'The Help'

'The Help' came back into the limelight amid the George Floyd protests recently.

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Updated:July 15, 2020, 6:03 PM IST
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Viola Davis Feels She 'Betrayed Her People' by Starring in 'The Help'
A still from'The Help'

Viola Davis is known not only for breaking grounds in Hollywood as an actress of colour, the unconventional woman also has a strong voice over race representation in the media.

The Triple Crown of Acting awardee once again made history as she graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s upcoming issue. A black photographer by the name of Dario Calmese captured Davis for the shoot.

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Presenting our July/August cover star: @ViolaDavis. Last month, the Oscar winner took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd—but she’s no stranger to fighting for what’s right. As a Black woman in Hollywood, she’s spent her career doing it: “My entire life has been a protest,” Davis says. “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.’” Davis was photographed by @dario.studio—the first Black photographer to shoot a Vanity Fair cover. At the link in bio, Davis speaks with V.F. about her extraordinary journey out of poverty and into the stubbornly unequal Hollywood system. Story by @soniasaraiya Photographed by @dario.studio Styled by @elizabethstewart1 Coatdress @maxmara Earrings @pomellato

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In an interview with the magazine for its July/August cover story, the actress opened up about her career regrets, one being, The Help. Nine years after its release, the Doubt actress reflected on her role in the film and expressed why she felt it was nothing short of self-betrayal. Davis, who earned her second Academy Award nomination for essaying Aibileen Clark, revealed she was a journeyman actor who was "hoping to pop.”

The Help released in 2011 traced a racially isolated town for the period of the Civil Rights Movement. The period drama also starred Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek and Anna Camp.

The Help received a fair amount of praise yet Davis is mulling for portraying a character who was discriminated against every single day in an abusive and racist environment. Davis recognizes that even though the film was made with good intentions it was "created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism."

The 54-year-old went on to say, "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. Then they leave the movie theatre and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were.”

She also explained that she feels a part of her betrayed her people as she was in a film which “wasn’t ready to (tell the whole truth)." Davis does not deny the relationships she built while on the sets and added that she shares mutual love between her and the women she worked with.

The Hollywood actress hopes that in the future, Black actresses would avoid any projects that tear down their communities.

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