Viola Davis might be having the best week ever. How come? Oh, just being a Best Supporting Actress Oscar win last Sunday and honoured as Harvard University's Artist of the Year this Saturday. NBD.
The school presented the Artist of the Year award to Davis during the Harvard Cultural Rhythms Festival, adding yet another award to Davis' trophy case which currently holds an Oscar, Tony, and an Emmy. No big deal, right? But the road to that level of success isn't easy, as Davis revealed in her acceptance speech.
“It’s a very sacred place, the stage and the screen. At the end of the day, what I do as an artist is channel characters and their stories and those moments in their lives that we sometimes hide,” Davis told she told the crowd at Harvard University’s Sander Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She didn't always feel heard, especially when she was studying acting.
“I spent so many years at Juilliard just wanting to beat somebody up. I think it was the height of my anger; that chip on my shoulder. I’m still trying to take care of that chip on my shoulder, by the way. It was mainly because I felt my voice as an artist was being stifled."
And not only has she found her voice as an artist, but she's been breaking barriers elsewhere as well, walking the Emmy's red carpet in 2012 with her natural hair. She spoke with Refinery29 about the experience.
"I would not say that I was 100 percent comfortable until I walked onto the carpet. And I'll tell you why: Number one, I felt like I had to be. Number two, I just wanted to be me. Every time you walk that carpet, the pressure to be your authentic self, but at the same time not stick out... That balance is something we are all trying to reach when we walk out the door every day. How do we fit in, but be ourselves and be true to ourselves?"