Viola Davis Speaks Out Against Diabetes With New Documentary

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (GETTY IMAGES)

With a career spanning over thirty years, Viola Davis is tackling a new venture to bring awareness to diabetes within the black community.

Davis is no stranger to us; whether she’s getting away with murder on our screens or getting away with a slay in a photograph on our timelines, the actress has become a constant in our lives. Given her fame and status, she’s now made it her duty to give voice to debunk the stigmas associated with diabetes by narrating a documentary called A Touch of Sugar.

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The film is something that hits home for Davis because her two sisters were diagnosed with the disease, her aunt died from it and she herself was diagnosed as being prediabetic.

Diabetes is currently an epidemic in America; 30 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and 84 million have prediabetes and aren’t even aware of it. “It’s affecting our world and our country,” says the award-winning actress. Davis says she felt it was time to “give voice to this issue and to debunk the myths and stigma that are associated with diabetes.”

“Silence is attached to our destruction,” says Davis. The reason she became an actress is that she feels her work makes people feel less alone. She also feels information generates that same feeling.

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“Growing up, we always called it the ‘sugar.’ No one called it by name, no one gave any information about it,” says Davis. She also says she felt as if “you just give in to the disease” because it ran in her family; lack of information made her feel like there was nothing she could do about the ailment. The actress makes note that she has found ways to cope and change her life because of her privilege.

“I have a doctor. I have money and I am coming from a place of privilege,” she says “There are a lot of people out there living in food deserts, who don’t have access to fresh foods and a lot are people in our community.” These facts made it a “no-brainer” for Davis to become involved in A Touch of Sugar.

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During our conversation, Davis was the chicken soup my soul needed to find its way to healing. With quote after quote, she spoke of hope and compassion and how the two of these things are instrumental to one’s survival. “Hope is in connection and support,” she says, adding, “this film is the definition support.” It was at this moment Davis went from being an actress to your favorite pastor on first Sunday, ready to open the doors of the church.

“A lack of connection makes one feel like they’re dying and not living,” Davis says, as she starts her sermon. “The community around you is key to your survival. People who feel less alone automatically have a sense of hope.”

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In conclusion, Davis says “we need to live a life bigger than ourselves and understand that we need connections and be brave and bold enough to speak up and speak out.” The minute we open our mouths and speak out is the minute we open ourselves to support. With this project, Davis wants to instill a sense of hope and information to improve health and love, which is the sweetest gift one could receive this holiday season.

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About the author

Corey Townsend

Chief Beyoncé Content Officer @ TheRoot. I aspire to be as steadfast & unmovable as Solange's wig. Former President of Hogwart's Black Student Union.