Viola Thee Davis Talks Black Lives Matter, Coping Through the Pandemic and More for InStyle Magazine

Illustration for article titled Viola Thee Davis Talks Black Lives Matter, Coping Through the Pandemic and More for InStyle Magazine
Image: Instyle Magazine/ AB+DM/The Only Agency

It’s not often I get my wig snatched midday on a Monday, but when I do—it’s because of Viola Davis. The How To Get Away With Murder star shines in a fire-ass houndstooth suit for InStyle and all I want to know is—does it come in my size and is express shipping available? (Really, I could settle for regular shipping because I need adequate time to plan on just how I’m gonna stunt at the next Zoom Happy Hour.) The fit, the flare, the houndstooth. I LIVE. Peep the InStyle cover below:

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In her cover story, Davis speaks to Instyle on Black Lives Matter, maintaining authenticity in the industry, and how exactly she’s been coping through the pandemic. And yes, wine is involved. “In terms of Black Lives Matter, I am who I always am. What’s happening is what has always been happening. We just decided to wake up. How have I been able to process it? I have days when I fail miserably. And that’s when I need my two or three glasses of wine. But I’m trying not to lose hope in humanity. The only thing I can control in life is what I put into it.”

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She continues, “I think that [lawyer and politician] Barbara Jordan said it best. She said, “What people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” And the bottom line is that it is a system that’s been built on the dehumanization of Black and brown people. Everything from Jim Crow to the Black codes to incarceration to the millions and millions of lives lost in the Middle Passage. The trauma of that still reverberates to this day, and not just with the Black and brown people, but with the so-called oppressors, who are the white people. We all have been affected by the trauma.”

When asked about the public perception of her “commanding” demeanor, the Fences star had this to say: Other people see it much more than I do. I will say that I think my greatest source of strength is my authenticity. If I try to channel some other being, I get lost. That’s when my anxiety level goes up. Growing up in Central Falls [R.I.] as the only kinky-haired chocolate-brown girl, I always was trying to channel the girls who had the Farrah Fawcett look. It had disastrous results. So the only thing I can do is channel my authenticity. That is really a powerful tool because we spend our entire lives trying to get there. If you are projecting that, that’s what people are attracted to.”

Davis can be seen next in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on December 18.

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DISCUSSION

I’m not feeling the houndstooth but I’ve seen some other pics over at Tom & Lorenzo that are beautiful.

I do love seeing her finally get the respect she deserves as an artist. I still remember an interview with her when she talked about her early roles and she said, “I’ve played more drug addicts than I can count.” It broke my heart.