Multi-award-winning actress Viola Davis recently shared the disheartening experience she once had on set in which a director repeatedly called her by his maid's name. Davis, a distinguished veteran in Hollywood, said incidents like that "happen all the time."
"I actually had a director do it to me," Davis told Variety last week during one of its "Women in Motion" conversations at the Cannes Film Festival. "He said, 'Louise!' and I'd known him for 10 years and called me 'Louise' and I find out it's because his maid's name is Louise," she recalled.
"I was about 30 at the time, so it was a while ago," the How to Get Away with Murder star said. "But what you have to realize is that those micro-aggressions happen all the time," Davis, 56, added.
Davis also discussed the lack of dark-skinned Black women in leading roles on TV.
"I know that when I left 'How to Get Away with Murder' I don't see a lot of dark skin women in lead roles on TV. Not even in streaming services," Davis said. "That goes into ideology and ethos and mentality, and that's speaking in the abstract. Why aren't you hiring a dark skin woman when she walks in the room and you say she blows you away? Then create space and storytelling for her so when she thrives she's not thriving despite of her circumstances, she's thriving because of the circumstances."
Davis is working to create those opportunities in film and TV through her company, JuVee Productions, which she co-founded with her husband. The company has one production in the works, "The Woman King" in which Davis will co-star in.