“If You Think I’m That, Pay Me What I’m Worth.” Clip of Viola Davis Explaining Her Issue With Being Called The ‘Black Meryl Streep’ Goes Viral

Viola Davis

Twitter user Carlos Brandt reposted a clip of Viola Davis from YouTube, that went viral on Tuesday evening. Viola Davis was talking about monetary disparities in the United States.

According to the Institute Of Women’s Policy Research, Black women in the U.S. make 21% less than their white female counterparts, on average. This means for every dollar white women make in any given field, black women are likely to make approximately 79 cents for the exact same job.

Notable wage inequality impacts everyone from essential workers, CEOs with advanced degrees, and even award-winning actresses such as How To Get Away With Murder star, Viola Davis. 

In fact, Davis has been particularly vocal about the racism in Hollywood and how it has impacted her career over the years. In a recently resurfaced interview for the 2018 Women In The World summit, Davis explains to journalist Tina Brown that while her acting resume may be on par with some of Hollywoods’ greatest actresses, her pay simply is not: 

“I got the Oscar, I got the Emmy, I got the two Tonys, I’ve done Broadway, I’ve done off-Broadway, I’ve done TV, I’ve done film, I’ve done all of it.

I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver. They all came out of Yale, they came out of Juilliard, they came out of NYU,” Viola said. 

“They had the same path as me,” she continued. “And yet I am nowhere near them. Not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, nowhere close to it. … But I have to get on that phone and people say ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep. … There is no one like you.’ OK, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth.”

The thought-provokingly honest conversation created waves throughout social media—being shared thousands of times and creating a commentary that resonated with black women from all walks of life, including fellow veteran actress Gabrielle Union.

and there was this tweet:

and this one:

According to NewsOne Just last week, Viola Davis was one of the many Black actors to sign on to the Hollywood 4 Black Lives letter, which made demands such as divesting from police, investing in anti-racist content, and more Black leadership in executive positions.

Viola Davis

The campaign was launched by the organization BLD PWR, which was founded by Davis’ “How to Get Away with Murder” co-star Kendrick Sampson. BLD PWR seeks to “engages culture, education, and activism to build and train an inclusive community of entertainers and athletes to advance radical social change.”

When it came to addressing representation in-front of the camera and behind the scenes, the Hollywood 4 Black Lives letter explained: “Our agencies, which often serve as industry gatekeepers, don’t recruit, retain or support Black agents.

Our unions don’t consider or defend our specific, intersectional struggles. Unions are even worse for our below-the-line crew, especially for Black women.”

With the support of Black people in unions and agencies, decorated actors like Viola Davis can finally get the support they deserve.

In an interview with Porter magazine, Davis explained further, “If Caucasian women are getting 50 percent of what men are getting paid, we’re not even getting a quarter of what white women are getting paid.”

Watch the powerful interview below.




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