Vi­ola Davis says ‘stop tam­ing us’ at Hol­ly­wood event


LOS AN­GE­LES — Ac­tress and pro­ducer Vi­ola Davis gave a rous­ing speech about lead­er­ship and au­then­tic­ity to a well-heeled crowd of Hol­ly­wood power play­ers Wed­nes­day morn­ing at The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter's Women in En­ter­tain­ment break­fast.

Davis, who was be­ing hon­ored with the Sherry Lansing Lead­er­ship Award, said that she doesn't al­ways come to mind when she thinks of the idea of lead­er­ship — Martin Luther King, Jr. does — but that she is try­ing through her pro­duc­tion com­pany to em­brace women of color as they re­ally are.

"There is no limit to how we see nar­ra­tives with peo­ple of color," Davis said to a rapt crowd that in­cluded Mandy Moore, Lupita Ny­ong'o, Awk­wa­fina, Rita Wil­son, "Roma" break­out Yal­itza Apari­cio and Ke­sha. "There is only so much I am go­ing to cow tow to this busi­ness."

She said she and her hus­band Julius Ten­non started Juvee Pro­duc­tions be­cause she was tired of cel­e­brat­ing movies that didn't have "me in it."

"I don't mean me Vi­ola," Davis said. "I mean me as a black woman."

She urged those in power in Hol­ly­wood to show more authen­tic black fe­male char­ac­ters. "My main mes­sage is 'stop tam­ing us,' she said. "Ev­ery­thing that we are in­side is what makes art in this world rich ... There is some­thing to be said about be­ing wild. Steve Mcqueen is wild. Barry Jenk­ins. Ryan Coogler .... These peo­ple who just dare. Who say you can­not si­lence me."

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