Update-Viola Davis is making an urgent plea for African Americans to see “The Help” opening in theaters this weekend. While Viola made her plea many were wondering, Why Is Oscar Nominee Viola Davis Playing A House Maid? Simple, because she can. Viola has made her case for taking on the role of Aibileen, an African American maid working in Mississippi during the 1960’s.
Davis admits to originally having some reservations regarding playing Aibileen in a movie based on Katherine Stockett’s 2009 best selling novel The Help. In a recent interview with Essence Magazine, Davis expressed how she and other women of color are often ignored or made to play marginalized roles in the Hollywood environment.
“Of course I had trepidations. Why did I have to play the mammy?”
However, she ultimately decided that Aibileen’s depth of character was more than deserving her stamp of approval as she explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly;
“I’ve played lawyers and doctors who are less explored and more of an archetype than these maids.”
One way Davis is attempting to deal with the inequities and type casting of African American actresses in Hollywood is by creating her own production company. When recently interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times, Davis elaborated on why she felt her company was important for fellow female actors.
“There are so many gifted women of color who are right behind me coming up. It’s my job to pass the baton to them,” she continued, “It doesn’t mean I’m out of the game as I grow older. I just know that I have to give others the opportunity to fly.”
Viola Davis is certainly basking in the flight of her own success as she was not only nominated for supporting actress in the movie Doubt, but also took home a Tony for her performance in the Broadway show Fences.
The Help opens this weekend nationwide – will you heed Viola Davis’?