Viola Davis praised as her resurfaced comments about the wage gap faced by Black women go viral

By Heather Cichowski

Viola Davis praised as her resurfaced comments about the wage gap faced by Black women go viral


A powerful speech from Viola Davis is going viral in light of the Black Lives Matter protests over the last month.

The Oscar-winning actress gave an interview at a Women in the World event back in February 2018. She spoke about the wage disparity between men and women, and between Black women and white women.

"I got the Oscar, I got the Emmy, I got the two Tonys," she said. "I've done Broadway, I've done off-Broadway. I've done TV, I've done film. I've done all of it. 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 Juilliard, 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."

In the moving interview, Viola demanded she be paid what she's worth.

"If there is no one like me — you think I’m that — you pay me what I’m worth," the How to Get With Murder star urged. "You give me what I’m worth.”

MORE: Sandra Oh speaks out in support of Black Lives Matter

The speech has regained traction online recently and gained support from many people, including Black women in the entertainment industry.

"You are THE one and only @violadavis that is all! #knowYourWorth #noIsTheMostPowerfulWord #IUseItOften," Viola's The Help co-star Octavia Spencer wrote on Instagram, along with a clip of the speech.

Plenty of celebrities echoed Octavia's words in the comments including Queen Latifah, Mahershala Ali and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who wrote, "I want to repost this every day until the end of time. Know! Your! Worth!"

Gabrielle Union, Sherri Shepherd and more expressed their support for Viola and her message on Twitter.

"Thank You @ViolaDavis! You’re doing The Lord’s work," penned Sherri about the video clip. "This was church & I’m shouting, 'Amen!' Pay me what I’m worth! Give me roles of substance! Value my art! We thank you sister for saying it for us all!"

Viola is one of the hundreds of Black artists who have signed an open letter entitled "Hollywood 4 Black Lives." The note, written by actor and activist Kendrick Sampson, seeks to address racial inequity and discrimination within the entertainment industry and make a positive change.

"We demand better," it reads. "Prove that Black Lives Matter to Hollywood by taking bold moves to affirm, defend and invest in Black lives."

Some other stars to sign it include Taraji P. Henson, Danai Gurira, Idris Elba, Janet Mock, Janelle Monáe and Zoë Kravitz.

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