Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Award-winning actress Viola Davis told Vanity Fair that she regrets her role in the film set in 1960s Mississippi “The Help.”
What We Know:
- Despite “The Help” being one of Netflix’s most-watched films since the recent Black Lives Matter protests, actress Viola Davis says she regrets playing the role of the housemaid Aibileen Clark because she feels she betrayed her people.
“There’s no one who’s not entertained by ‘The Help,'” Davis said. “but there’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to [tell the whole truth].”
- Davis explains that she took the role because she was hoping it would make her “pop” because a lot of “unknown, faceless” black actresses who represent earlier versions of herself don’t have roles that lead them to bigger and better roles that “fabulous white actresses” like Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon, and Kristen Stewart get.
“I was that journeyman actor, trying to get in.”
- Davis feels that a lot of Black movies like “The Help” is created to “show the idea of what it means to be Black” but fail because they are “catered to the white audience.” “The white audience at the most can sit and get an academic lesson into how we are,” she explains. “then they leave the movie theater and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were.”
- Davis’s cast member, Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Hilly Holbrook, gave her views on “The Help” as well through Facebook. “‘The Help’ is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further,” she wrote. She also shared a list of films that focuses on black lives instead.
Davis also said that “The Help” was “created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism.”