Viola Davis has had a long road to stardom and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. It seemed as though it all started when she burst onto the scene in The Help as maid Aibileen Clark in which she beautifully portrayed the emotional side of deep-seated racism. Then in 2015, she became the first Black woman ever to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama for How to Get Away With Murder, which finished it’s incredible run this past year. In 2017, she won an Oscar for her supporting role as Rose Maxson in Fences with Denzel Washington. That character she also collected a Tony. She will portray Michelle Obama in Showtime’s upcoming series First Ladies, which is being produced by JuVee Productions, the company run by Davis and her husband. Davis lends extraordinary authenticity to the roles she plays, and it seems like now she’s just getting the accolades that she’s always deserved.
But it wasn’t always like that for her. In fact, it was very hard. She took us down the memory lane of her impoverished childhood in an emotional and moving acceptance speech at Variety’s Power of Women Luncheon.
“I was one of the seventeen million kids in this country who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from,” Davis shared with the audience. “And I did everything to get food. I’ve stolen for food. I’ve jumped in huge garbage bins with maggots for food. I have befriended people in the neighborhood who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day for food. And I sacrificed a childhood for food, and grew up in immense shame.”
The Associated Press reports Davis, 55, was honored for her humanitarian work as an ambassador for the Hunger Is campaign, raising awareness about hunger in the United States.
“I always say that the little girl who is hungry is always with me,” Davis told Variety in the October 7 issue.
“I feel like why not use any kind of power I have to serve. There’s a famous saying that ‘to serve is to love.’ I don’t want my tombstone to just say I was a series regular and Oscar nominee.”
Davis, the second youngest of six children, was born on her grandmother’s farm in South Carolina before moving to Rhode Island months later.
Daughter of a horse trainer and a maid, she attended Central Falls High School, where she said many children struggle to ‘navigate their way through the darkness’ of poverty and few prospects.
Thanks to being a ‘geek’, she says, she secured a place at Rhode Island College, majoring in drama. She has since…