Cop a gander of Viola Davis! Glowing on the cover of InStyle, the Golden Globe winner sits down with the magazine to talk fashion, institutionalised racism and her upcoming role as Ma Rainey alongside the late actor Chadwick Boseman.
Read more below…
The 55-year-old Oscar winner said farewell to her role as the iconic Annalise Keating in the past year, but she’s pushing on with her acting talent in the new feature film ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.‘
Talking to InStyle’s Editor-In-Chief Laura Brown, Davis shares what drew her to the role of Rainey in the 1927-set drama:
‘Everything attracted me to Ma Rainey, especially the idea that I didn’t feel I could play her. But she also really reminds me of the women I grew up with, all my aunties and relatives, the people who were bigger in stature whom I saw as so beautiful. They never questioned their worth. They had the full makeup, the earrings, the Afros, the wide-leg pants.’
Elaborating on the role, she shares:
‘In white American culture, the idea of classic beauty and confidence has always been associated with extreme thinness, but not in my culture. In the African-American culture, we are in command of our bodies. There’s an unapologetic way that we approach clothing. Even in the way Ma Rainey’s breasts were hanging out. At first I was like, “Should I pull my dress up and be more modest?” But I had to channel Ma, and she wouldn’t do that. Neither did my relatives.’
Speaking on Black Lives Matter, the Emmy winner says:
‘In terms of Black Lives Matter, I am who I always am. What’s happening is what has always been happening. We just decided to wake up. How have I been able to process it? I have days when I fail miserably. And that’s when I need my two or three glasses of wine. But I’m trying not to lose hope in humanity. The only thing I can control in life is what I put into it. That’s the only thing I can do with Genesis. Teach her that you still have to be kind, you still have to be empathetic. That that’s going to be a part of your legacy. You have no idea whose life you can shift. And at the same time, even someone who doesn’t share your belief system could be a friend. That is the complexity of life.’
She also details her thoughts on the Presidential election:
“The bottom line is that it is a system that’s been built on the dehumanization of Black and brown people. Everything from Jim Crow to the Black codes to incarceration to the millions and millions of lives lost in the Middle Passage. The trauma of that still reverberates to this day, and not just with the Black and brown people, but with the so-called oppressors, who are the white people.
We all have been affected by the trauma. It’s almost as if we have to relearn how to interact with each other. How to love each other. How to meet each other as equals. That’s very difficult because our caste system is about one-upmanship. An American ideology and ethos that is based on whoever is on top gets the American Dream and whoever is on the bottom, who fails the test, does not. We have to dismantle that. If we are indeed woke and do not want another 2020 or 1965 or 1877 or 1865 to happen again, then we need to slowly begin dismantling this system. And then look into reparations.”
A great interview! Viola never fails to deliver thought-provoking, truthful words. See more shots from the gorgeous photoshoot below:
You can read the full InStyle interview here.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ hits Netflix 4th December!
We’ll be watching… will you?