A few weeks ago, the profoundly talented Oscar nominated Viola Davis gave an interview to the New York Times in which they described her ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ producer, Shonda Rhimes, as an ‘angry black woman’, ‘sassy’ and ‘soulful’. Needless to say, the no-sh*t-taking Viola didn’t take too kindly to these descriptors which she deemed as offensive towards black women, prompting the NYT to issue a pretty lukewarm apology for their choice of phrasing. How To Get Away… marks Davis’s first starring role at the age of 49.
Davis then went on to do an interview with New York Magazine, in which she openly reflected on why she took issue with her previous interviewer.
Davis says use of the word ‘angry’ in association with black women is “very offensive”, as are ‘sassy’ and ‘soulful.’
“We’ve used them enough. It’s time to bury them in the racial-history graveyard. My feeling about the article is it’s a reflection of how we view women of color, what adjectives we use to describe them – as scary, as angry, as unattractive. I think that people are tired of it.”
And she’d be right; it’s 2014, when will enough be enough?
When asked by the magazine about being described as ‘older, darker skinned and less classically beautiful’ (another choice phrase from the NYT journalist), Viola aptly responds:
“There is no one who would compare Glenn Close to Julianna Margulies, Zooey Deschanel to Lena Dunham. They just wouldn’t. They do that with me and Kerry because we’re both African-Americans and we’re both in Shonda Rhimes shows. But they wouldn’t compare me to Ellen Pompeo. Because Ellen Pompeo is white.”