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EDITORIAL – Viola Davis’ Emmy Win Symbolic for Black Children By Cassiette West-Williams


Viola Davis’ Emmy Win Symbolic for Black Children

By Cassiette West-Williams and news reports

Viola Davis reached all the way back to renaissance woman Harriet Tubman’s words, to make her shining moment at the Emmy’s relevant and even more historical. She drew upon Mrs. Tubman’s bravery and courage to move forward with making a difference for her people, even when it had never been done before.

If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going,” is the quote from Miss Tubman’s archives about chasing a dream. And with her example of perseverance, Tubman kept rescuing our ancestors, so that they could enjoy their freedom.

Actress Viola Davis, with her natural hair, accepted her Emmy Award, making her the first African-American winner to earn this honor. Miss Davis regularly appears on “How to Get Away with Murder”, while working consistently in movies like “The Help.” Regal in her white beaded gown, she delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech that sent many social media sites abuzz. She made many hearts flutter, as she quoted Miss Tubman and kept on point, about the historical moment her night had become. Miss Davis made elders sit upright, mother’s cry, and children dream of the day when they could hold the golden statue and be appreciated for their body of professional work in the arts. For years, the academy has given lip service and nominations to actresses of color, only for them to leave the awards show empty-handed. What a proud moment it was when Viola Davis’ name was called, and how gracefully she handled her honor, with dignity, pride, and humility, thanking our ancestors who have gone before her. She ran with that speech and nailed it in the hearts of our great-grandmothers and grandmothers, knowing that if it had not been for their journey, she would not be able to stand on that stage and deliver her best!

Then to put icing on that beautiful, dark chocolate cake, fellow Empire actress, Taraji P. Henson, stood up and embraced her kindred sister with empathy and pride. There were no cat fights, no negativity, and nothing scandalous when Davis and Henson showed the world how we can and should love each other! You could feel that hug all the way through the television screen.

Last year, the on-line magazine, The Root, featured a story where Miss Davis had spoken about her tragic childhood. She was ashamed to be around her peers because she ate from the garbage cans and other people’s leftovers. She was the child that others shunned, due to the poverty conditions she suffered from in her community. But look at GOD! Like Harriet Tubman, she kept her faith alive and just kept going, believing that she would eventually enjoy success. And by the grace of God, Davis reached one of her highest goals.

Davis is scheduled to portray Harriet Tubman in a HBO biopic in 2016. What we witnessed was a modern-day miracle, in the body of a dark-skinned diva, who believed in herself and kept going. Amen.