Actress, and tony award winning star Viola Davis will be one of the honorees at this year Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Event. Best known for her role in Denzel Washington’s directorial debut Antoine Fisher and the famous broadway hit show “Fences”, this Julliard school graduate may be a top runner at this years Oscar Academy Awards.
Viola Davis stars in the upcoming film “The Help,” the highly anticipated film of Kathryn Stockett best selling novel. Viola plays the role of Aibileen Clark, a maid in the south who spent her entire adult life caring for white people’s children. At the center of the story is a privileged college graduate name Eugenia Phelan played by actress Emma Stone who returns to Jackson Mississippi in 1961 wanting to be a writer and searching for a subject; which she finds in Aibileen Clark. The movie exposes the scandals and racism of the 1960’s Jim Crow era in Jackson, Mississippi.
Viola was said to have been skeptical of the role at first quoting: “I was afraid of it…..I went in with alot of trepidation, because I felt a huge responsibility to myself, to African Americans, to my mom. Viola says she reflected on her own upbringing; particularly her mother’s experience while filming the movie. “My mother was a maid and young parent and she too worked in factories….she had many talents and gifts but no one invested in her potential… the role I played was the life my mother had lived. “
Viola’s bravery to take this role in confidence while having to deal with the stigma attached to a black woman playing a maid role is quite remarkable. “The Help” opens in theaters Wednesday August 11th, 2011.