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This Old Video Of Viola Davis Is Going Viral For All The Right Reasons

"Pay me what I'm worth"

Viola Davis is one of the most accomplished actresses in Hollywood – she’s won two Tony Awards, an Oscar, a British Academy Film Award, became the first woman of colour to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the first African-American woman to win five Screen Actors Guild Awards. But, even still the actress isn’t getting the respect – or payment – she deserves. 

A video from a 2018 video has gone viral (again) this week, reminding the world just how under-appreciated Davis is. The clip, taken from a conversation at a Women of the World event, shows the award-winning actress call out the pay gap that occurs across gender and racial lines. 

“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,” she tells the audience. “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 Julliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them, not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, nowhere close to it.”

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“But I have to get on that phone and people say, ‘You’re a Black Meryl Streep…There is no one like you.’ Okay, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth. You give me what I’m worth.”

Unsurprisingly, the clip went viral with people praising Davis.

Davis’ long-standing career should speak for itself. Her breakthrough role in the 2008 period drama Doubt, alongside Streep, paved the way for her other award-winning roles in The Help, How to Get Away with Murder, Widows, and both the play and film adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences.

Davis isn’t the only actress of colour to call out not being recognised in the industry. 

“What I see Hollywood do is feature one or two of us, and they’ll ignore the rest of us like we don’t exist,” actress Kimberly Elise said at a T Magazine event. “It gives the illusion that we’re moving forward, but it’s really disempowering the collective.”

The Academy Awards has long been accused for its lack of diversity too, with #Oscarsowhite trending over awards season. This week, The Academy actively brought about change, inviting 819 new members to join the organisation. And while there is undoubtedly still a long way to go, this move surpasses its goal to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/ racial communities by 2020.

Among the 819 new members are some very famous faces, including Awkwafina, Zendaya Coleman, Cynthia Erivo, Eva Longoria, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde and Constance Wu, among others.

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