With over 100 awards to her name, including an Emmy, Academy, and a couple of Tony Awards, Viola Davis is the first black actress to don the coveted Triple Crown of Acting. The level of success she has managed to attain in Hollywood is so surreal that she is not only the pride of people of colour but also one of the world’s most influential people.
Despite this, the actress is as real as they come. As she continues to sway countless hearts doing what she knows best, Viola also has a select group of people she’d drop it all for in a second. Among them are her husband Julius Tennon, and her daughter, Genesis.
Viola Davis Is An Activist Inspired By Her Own Life
She was born on August 11, 1965, in South Carolina as the fifth child. Her dad, Dan Davis, was a horse trainer, and her mother, Mary Alice, a maid. Her mother was also an activist whose endeavours got Viola jailed at the age of two. As for her siblings, she has a brother and four sisters.
For her education, the woman who grew into one of the greatest actresses in history attended the Central Falls High School. Afterwards, she went to the Young People’s School for the Performing Arts in West Warwick, Rhode Island, as she attempted to improve on her acting. Next, she went to Rhode Island College, where she studied theatre.
Since then, the actress has earned her place in the profession with her consistently riveting performances in various acting endeavours ranging from TV to theatre. However, despite fame, Davis isn’t one to forget her roots. Getting jailed at age two was not enough to dissuade her from activism.
Coming from a place of abject of poverty, the actress says she understands more than most what the millions of hungry kids in America go through. And she throws her money and influence where her mouth is to make their lives better. Similarly, her life is a huge torch for women of colour.
Life As A Pacesetting Thespian
A powerful actress who has been around for almost as long as many of us can remember, Viola is one of the few actresses that one can conveniently say have paid their dues in full.
Viola Davis consistently gives exceptional performances as an actress – whether as Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder or Rose Maxson in Fences. On stage or screen, Davis doesn’t disappoint as she brings characters to life.
With her win at the 2017 Oscars, Viola Davis became the first African-American to win an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar for performances. She is the 23rd actor all round to have earned that distinction, and she is the first African-American actress to receive three Oscar nominations. In 2015 when she won an Emmy for lead actress in a drama, she also became the first black woman to win in that Emmy category.
Viola Davis is also known for making thought-provoking speeches worthy of awards themselves, in addition to her incredible ability to bring life to any role. She has a way of inspiring women of colour, and people in general with her words.
An artist who has touched many lives with her life and acts, Viola Davis couldn’t have been prouder of her chosen profession. As she puts it, it is the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
A Beautiful Actress With Huge Love For Family
Giving her Oscar acceptance speech, Viola Davis thanked her family, starting with her parents. The people who taught her good or bad, how to fail, and how to love. She also thanked her siblings, her husband, and her daughter.
Viola Davis Found Her Husband Through Prayer
Viola’s husband is Julius Tennon. The two got married in 2003. Like most of her life, the story of how the icon met her significant other is no basic one. Having always been a hard worker, Davis was on track to become what she is today. Although she probably didn’t know it yet, she wanted more.
She wanted a man to call her own and she had specific specs in mind as well. The ever so deep actress wanted a black man from the south, the size, and look of a big football player—a man who had been married before and already had kids.
Short of offering her clay to mould her ideal man, a friend suggested a way she knew how Viola could get her man. She asked her to pray about it, and as a Christian, the actress got to work.
From her mouth to God’s ears, Davis would indeed meet her spec, and future husband, less than a month after that prayer. She was having a conversation with her friend about not knowing many people in LA when Julius Tennon, an actor, and former footballer, overheard and offered her his card.
She delayed their meeting a couple of weeks because of a bad credit that made her shy at the time. But it eventually happened. According to her, their first date was terrifying, but Tennon was so original and honest, and wouldn’t stop talking about how beautiful she was.
Thereafter, they began the journey of a lifetime together. If her 15th anniversary Instagram post is anything to go by, the time she’s spent with her husband has been the best years of her life.
Julius is a Texas Native and Film/TV Producer
Born in Austin, Texas, on December 24, 1953, Viola Davis’s husband, like her, is a veteran actor and producer. He has been in the game for over three decades. Julius Tennon was a star linebacker at the University of Tulsa, and the first black person to graduate from their theatre department. He co-owns JuVee productions with his wife, Viola.
Her Daughter has Chosen the Thespian Life Too
In 2011, Viola Davis and her husband welcomed their first daughter, Genesis, who they adopted as an infant. A beautiful baby girl raised by parents who want only the best for her, Genesis is already set on a path many don’t even discover until adulthood.
She made her parents proud when she landed her first significant acting role at age nine. Both Davis and Tennon were present at the premiere of The Angry Birds Movie 2 in August 2019, where Genesis voiced the character of little bird Vivi.
Nevertheless, as she encourages her daughter to pursue her interest in acting, Davis balances it by making sure she doesn’t lose focus on her education. The actress is also a stepmother to Tennon’s two children, a son and a daughter, from a previous relationship.