Viola Davis Delivers Powerful Speech As She Accepts Harvard Artist Of The Year Award

Viola Davis is on a roll. Just last month she got a Best Supporting Actress win at the Oscars for her role as Rose Maxson in Fences and became
the first African-American who has won an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar in her acting career.

Alongside the win, Viola Davis gained wide praise for her speech at the Oscars where she spoke about wanting to give people a platform for their stories.

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This Saturday, Viola Davis accepted yet another prestigious award at Harvard University at the school’s Cultural Rhythms Festival and once again delivered another powerful speech to members of the audience.


She took home Harvard’s Artist of the Year award and spoke to those in attendance about what drives her to be an actress.

“Art, it’s a very sacred place, the stage and the screen, because really, at the end of the day, even what I do as an artist, when I channel characters and people and their stories, and those moments in their lives that we sometimes hide, that we feel like is just kind of our mess, our shame.

I want people to be seen. I want them to feel less alone, so I thank you for this award. I promise I’ll try to live up to it as much as I can. I can’t promise I won’t do some crap every once in a while, ’cause I’ve done some crap, let me tell you.

But I have to say that I am so honoured to be even in the presence of so many artists here.”

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She told the room that her mission is always to help people find characters to whom they can relate, with problems they can feel connected to. It was almost a continuation of the sentiments from her Oscar speech where she said that the place holding the people with the most potential is the graveyard.

“People ask me all the time, “What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?” And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost,”

If she can get people to connect to characters with problems and struggles like theirs maybe so many people won’t go to the grave with all their potentials and we can have more people dreaming big and fulfilling those dreams.